Childhood diabetes can be overwhelming for a family. Since it is a chronic disease that requires constant care and attention, it might be unsettling sending your child away to school for hours or dropping them off at soccer practice. Managing your child’s diabetes is achievable as long as you keep these tips in mind.
Consult Your Child’s Doctor and School
It’s important to choose a doctor that is knowledgeable about pediatric diabetes and can help you make the best decisions for your child. Visit your child’s pediatrician regularly and keep up with your child’s appointments. You’ll need to develop a healthy diet for your child with their doctor.
Diabetes doesn’t stop at school. During the school day, your child may need to check their blood sugar level or take insulin among other things. Be sure to create a Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP) or physician’s order with both your child’s doctor and school staff. Having a DMMP issued by your child’s pediatrician or physician provides guidelines staff members need to ensure the health and safety of your child.
Check for Needed Supplies
Sending your child off to school means that they’ll have to learn to be responsible for handling their diabetes. Even with the help of the school staff, you’ll want to supply your child with all the tools needed for his or her day at school. Be sure that your child wears a medical ID bracelet or necklace in case of any emergency. It’s a good idea to create a care package with your child that they can carry in their backpack. Items to supply your kid with include:
- Medication needed (Insulin, for example)
- Testing supplies (blood glucose meter, testing strips, extra batteries for meter, etc)
- Antiseptic wipes
In the event that your child’s blood sugar is low, you may want to pack a small portion of sugary snack to quickly raise their blood sugar level. A snack like hard candy or non-diet soda would help in this instance.
Encourage Your Child (and Family) to Eat Healthy Foods
Let your child be involved in making the food decisions. Take your child grocery shopping and let them select healthy meal options for the family. This will make your child feel included rather than forced to eat something healthy. When cooking dinner ask your child to help you prepare the meal. Make healthy choices for the whole family so your child doesn’t feel different from everyone else.
Prepare a healthy breakfast for your child like cereal and a bowl of assorted fruits to help your child stay focused and active throughout the day. Whether they bring a packed lunch to school or buy a lunch at the cafeteria, be sure to help your child make healthy decisions. Pack a lunch with whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables. If they are buying lunch, take a look at the school’s menu for healthier options for your child.
Keep Your Child Active
Diabetes is stressful enough, so the last thing you want is for your child to feel that they can’t do the things other kids can because of their illness. Let your child participate in sports and extracurricular activities they enjoy. This will help keep your child active and healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that exercise can help your child improve their blood sugar control.
Even if your child doesn’t prefer sports, be sure they get some form of exercise. Encourage your child to participate in physical education classes at school. At home, take up exercising with your child. Go bike riding or walking around the neighborhood. Doctors suggest 60 minutes of physical activity every day for your child so it’s important that you encourage a healthy lifestyle for your child.
Communicate with Your Family
Diabetes can be stressful for families to deal with. Younger children may have a hard time understanding why there are so many changes, or why their older brother or sister receives more attention. Take time to discuss how diabetes affects everyone in the family and what can be done to make the load easier.
There are several tools available for managing your child’s diabetes. It’s important to have regular check-ins with your Altamonte Springs pediatrician to make sure you’re taking proper precautions to keep them healthy. Click here to schedule an appointment at Family First Pediatrics.
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