Children with diabetes can grow to lead healthy lives, but they’ll need extra help from their parents. Young children may not understand why testing and checkups are really necessary. Older children may find that living with diabetes is too restrictive, and they may rebel and resist testing. Learn how to work with your child’s doctor to come up with a plan your child understands and can live with.
Preventing Symptoms of Childhood Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes in children may present with no symptoms, or the symptoms may be so mild that the child finds them easy to ignore. As a result, children with diabetes must have their blood sugar levels tested frequently. Make sure you know how to test your child’s blood sugar, or if the child is old enough, make sure the child performs the test properly. Ask your doctor for help, if needed.
Living with Diabetes: Management at School
Childhood diabetes management doesn’t stop when the child leaves for school. Ask your child’s doctor to write down your child’s specific childhood diabetes management plan. Take that plan to your child’s school, and determine who will be responsible for each step on the plan. For example:
- Who will test your child’s blood sugar?
- Who will give insulin injections?
- Where will these tests and injections happen? In the nurse’s office or in the classroom?
Diabetes Management on Special Occasions
Having a plan in place makes living with diabetes easier for your child, as she’ll be able to go on trips with friends. Before your child leaves for an extended trip:
- Get a written prescription for medications from your child’s doctor. Ask for written instructions on how the medications should be given.
- Pack twice the amount of supplies and medications you think your child will need.
- Put another adult in charge of your child’s care. Managing childhood diabetes can be too overwhelming for a child to do alone. Make sure an adult knows how to check blood sugar and administer medications, as well as how to spot and treat a diabetes emergency.
Living with Diabetes: Weight Management
Type 2 diabetes in children has been linked to obesity and low rates of exercise. Help your child to exercise every day. Adjusting the entire family’s diet can make it easier for your child to lose weight.
American Diabetes Association. (2010). For parents and kids. Retrieved January 12, 2011, from http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/parents-and-kids/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Children and diabetes — More information.Retrieved January 12, 2011, from http://www.cdc.gov/DIABETES/projects/cda2.htm
The Nemours Foundation. (2009). Type 2 diabetes: What is it? Retrieved January 12, 2011, from http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/endocrine/type2.html#