Let's Chat about Children with Diabetes
Children with diabetes are just like children without diabetes—they strive for a little more independence each year. They want to receive positive reinforcement from their parents and they don't like to stand out from the crowd. As a parent, we want our children to be happy and carefree which often means having lots of friends, going to kid’s parties, participating in sports and having as much fun as possible. A diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes in your young child may leave you feeling that the above will not be possible. However, over time, and with patience and some adjustments, you and your child will learn to manage this “new normal”.
How to explain to your child that they’re living with diabetes:
Let them know that it isn’t their fault and that their body isn’t broken.
Explain what type 1 diabetes is, in ways that they are able to understand – use metaphors and analogies, like this: ‘inside your body is a specific thing called a pancreas, which makes something called, insulin, but sometimes, people’s pancreas’ are locked, which makes making insulin harder to get through the locked door, but eating this way, or doing exercise, or taking this medication will help unlock the door and make it easier for insulin to be made.
Let them know they aren’t alone.
To check your children’s blood glucose level - Follow these basic steps below when using your blood glucose meter:
1. Wash and dry your hands
2. Insert the test strip into the meter
3. Prick their finger with the lancing device (Always dispose of the lancet in a hygienic and safe manner)
4. Apply a small drop of blood to the test strip
5. Wait for the result to appear
6. As your child gets older and starts to enjoy the world of digital apps, consider making use of a diabetes management app such as mySugr to simplify their daily diabetes management.
Recognize when your child has low blood sugar with these symptoms ¹
- Extreme hunger
- Itchy lips
- Difficulty talking
- Irritability / Crying without reason
- Trembling, dizziness
- Blurred vision
Below is a list of some healthy snack ideas: ² ³
Frozen fruit such as blueberries, strawberries etc:
Air popped popcorn
Sweet potato chips
Cream cheese pickle wraps (spread cream cheese around each pickle and wrap with some lean beef)
Fresh fruit such as apple slices
Veggie sticks (cucumbers, red peppers, carrots)
Cucumber and hummus
Leafy turkey / chicken wrap (lettuce spread thinly with peanut butter and a slice of turkey/chicken inside)
Children with diabetes who exercise get the same benefits as adults.⁴ It helps keep their blood glucose levels down, keeps their heart and other muscles healthy and it does wonders for their emotional health and confidence.⁴ If your child doesn’t like sports, don’t worry. Here are some great ways to get them off the couch.
- Hula hoops: They’re inexpensive, and with about 10 minutes of practice, your kids will be hooked.
- Follow the leader. Remember this one? The leader runs (or crawls or skips or gallops or dances) around while everyone else follows and copies them. Take turns being the leader for 3 minutes at a time.
- Play catch.
- Just walk. Take a family walk around your neighborhood after dinner. If the weather isn’t cooperating, try some of these stuck-inside ideas instead.
- Balloon volleyball. See how long everyone can keep a balloon from touching the furniture or floor. Too easy? Add a few more and keep them all in the air!
Find more tips on children living with diabetes by downloading our brochure here
¹ Healthline.com. Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia) [Internet] 2016 August, 16. Available from http://www.healthline.com/health/hypoglycemia#causes Accessed: April 08, 2018
² Finger Prickin’ Good.com 10 Kid Approved and Diabetes Friendly Snacks. [Internet] 2013 August, 05 Available from http://fingerprickingood.com/2013/08/05/10-kid-approved-diabetic-friendl...Accessed: April 08, 2018
3 Healthy Snacks for Kids. [Internet] Available from http://healthy-snacks-for-kids.org/diabetic-snacks/ Accessed: April 04, 2018
4 American Diabetes Association. Physical activity is important. Food & Fitness [Internet]. 2016 Dec 27 [cited 2018 Jan 4]. Arlington, Virginia. Available from http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/physical-activity-is-im...