This article originally appeared in the Summer
2002 edition of Celiac.coms Scott-Free
Copyright © 2002 Scott Adams. All rights reserved worldwide.
Celiac.com 07/28/2005 - Being gluten-free shouldnt change your summer plans. For a kid, absolutely nothing compares to the excitement of counting down those last few days before school is out for summer, and life goes from routine and imprisoning to lazy and carefree. Thats right—sing it now—schools out for summer!
We parents, admittedly, have some mixed emotions about summer break. We eagerly await the mornings free of chaos and last-minute-I-have-nothing-to-wear tantrums, evenings without battles over homework, and afternoons when kids will have more time to play, and maybe even to help around the house and yard (a mom can dream, cant she?).
But summer break is a catalyst for new battles, such as trying to explain to our kids that yes, it is your summer vacation, and yes, it is supposed to be relaxing, but 16 hours of television is still too much. The first few days are what I call freebies. We all enjoy the lack of structure, allowing our little ones to sleep as long as theyd like (but why is it that on school days they whine that they could have slept until noon, and during summer break theyre up at the crack of dawn?), and even buying into the oh-so-well-presented argument that this is just the first (second, third) day of vacation, and its the only day theyll watch TV all summer—promise! Energized by the contagious enthusiasm of summer break, we pack weeks worth of fun into the first few days, and revel in every minute of family freedom.
And then...by about day four...you hear those dreaded two words that can, in and of themselves, induce critically high blood-pressure levels faster than anchovies on crackers: Im bored!
Most parents go into the summer with good intentions and the best-laid plans for staving off the boredom blues. Fun-but-educational math and science workbooks, fun family fitness programs, and a well-stocked arts and crafts cabinet can sound like a good idea, but kids (and adults!) just want to have fun. The difference is that adults have responsibilities and obligations, and cant usually put our lives on hold for three months. They, however, can—and should.
But my kids are gluten-free....
Oh, good point. That just means you may have to be a smidge more creative, but basically, if your child cant eat gluten, your options for battling boredom are just the same as everyone elses. Yep. Just the same. You may have to be a little more creative, and youll undoubtedly need to spend time educating those around you. But its well worth the time and energy to provide your child with some of lifes greatest summer experiences and memories.
You may want to consider summer camps. Both day and away camps offer tremendous opportunities and experiences. There are some wonderful specialty camps for celiac kids, but dont feel that your options are limited to those. Do you think its too hard because of your childs diet? Think again!
Day Camps/Away Camps—Gluten-Freedom!
Sending your child away to camp is difficult. Oh—dont misunderstand me—its not difficult because of the diet. Its saying good-bye thats the hard part!
Whether you choose day camps or away camps is up to you. From a dietary standpoint, the concept is the same. You may want to take all the worry out of it and send your child to a camp specially designed for celiac kids. Three are listed at the end of this article. But dont think youre limited to specialty camps. You can send them to any camp if you keep a few important things in mind:
More than simply a great way to beat the summertime boredom blues, sending your child to camp can be a huge growing-up experience. Oh—and the kids will do some growing up, too!