When your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, family life and daily routines may seem more complicated in the beginning. Over time, and with the support of your diabetes team, this will change.
Know that your child can have a healthy and fulfilling life with diabetes.
Caring for child with type 1 diabetes
Managing type 1 diabetes may seem overwhelming in the beginning. Your diabetes team will help you learn about diabetes and feel more confident. It's important that you become comfortable with caring for your child’s diabetes so that you can help your child become comfortable, too.
As the caregiver of a child with type 1 diabetes, you will need to help them with:
- testing blood sugar
- giving insulin
- eating regular meals and snacks
- balancing food, medication and physical activity
- recognizing the signs of low and high blood sugar
Involving a child in diabetes care
Encourage your child to be involved in their diabetes care right from the start. Identify reasonable tasks that your child can do for them self. Even young children can do tasks such as choosing which finger to test and reading the numbers on the meter.
As they become more independent, children can take on a larger role in their diabetes care, with support from their caregiver.
Programs like D-camps, Diabetes Canada camps for kids with type 1 diabetes, can help your child learn and manage their own diabetes, helping them gain independence.
Talking to your child about diabetes
The way you talk to your child about diabetes will have a big impact on how they perceive their diabetes and themselves. Being positive and supportive will help boost your child’s self-esteem.
When speaking to your child, try to:
- discuss how foods fit into a healthy lifestyle
- describe blood sugar levels as “in target,” “high,” or “low”
- talk to your child about other important things that are happening in their life such as school, sports and social events
- remember that diabetes is only one part of your child’s life
Try not to describe food as “bad” or “junk” and avoid describing blood sugar levels as “good” or “bad,”.
Involving other caregivers
It's important that other caregivers understand your child’s diabetes and know how to care for them. Members of your child’s diabetes care team can provide education to others.
Always provide other caregivers and school personnel with:
- schedules of blood sugar testing times and insulin requirements
- meal and snack plans
- treatment plans for low blood sugar
- treatment plans for high blood sugar
- contact information for emergency situations
Get the support you need
Diabetes Canada is here to help provide information and support so that your child can live a healthy life. A positive and realistic attitude toward diabetes can help make it easier.
Talking to other people with kids with type 1 diabetes is a great way to learn, and to feel less alone.
Your health-care team is there to help you too. Depending on the resources available in your community, your team may include a family doctor, diabetes educator (nurse and/or dietitian), endocrinologist, pharmacist, social worker, exercise physiologist, psychologist, foot-care specialist, and eye-care specialist.
Your team can answer your questions about how to manage diabetes and work with you to adjust food plans, activity and medications.
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