Adult diabetes management and coping can be relatively easier and spontaneous as against child’s diabetes. Children, who are yet to gain the required skills and maturity to handle a complex condition as diabetes, find it difficult to manage their diabetes themselves and require help in one or the other form at various stages.
Education and planning are important when you want to prepare a child for managing his/her diabetes. Besides, there are a handful of many good things which can serve as guidelines for managing diabetes in children.
How to Manage Diabetes in Children
Preparing a Child Mentally Through Education
A very important aspect of dealing with a long term condition is the mental preparation required to handle the condition. The realization that they are diabetic can make them highly sensitive to face the world of non-diabetic people (especially their peers). The diagnosis considerably affects your child emotionally, just as it affects him/her physically. He/she can be shocked, angry and even reject the idea of having a serious illness.
Give him/her time to accept and adapt the condition. You may consult a psychologist if you feel the need. You need to provide adequate education to your child so that he/she is prepared to encounter the practical world demanding diverse skills for managing diabetes. Children may feel out of the world owing to the restrictions or limitations diabetes poses on them. They need to know the reason for the especial care and treatment required for managing diabetes.
Diabetes should not serve as a deterrent in enjoying childhood. The initial days of diabetic management may seem difficult and (too) demanding. However, over time, a child can attune to his/her bodily needs. Persistent efforts are needed to ensure a child gets all the necessary skills within time without suffering too much.
Ensure the Basic Diabetes Supplies
With diabetes, there can be an inadvertent demand for several things like water, glucose tablets, insulin pump, testing strips, syringes, fast-acting glucose foods, etc. every time, each day. Ensure that your child has easy access to everything which is (likely to be) needed (even if it has not been needed before).
An episode of low or high blood sugar can turn into a crisis when not attended appropriately. You can keep a bag pack of the essential items which your child can carry everywhere. If you require special permission for carrying the bag pack, get it within time. Be particular about keeping fast-acting carbohydrates (like orange juice, raisins and hard candy).
Give Age Appropriate Training to Manage Diabetes
It is practically not feasible for you to accompany your child in all endeavors. Age appropriate training can ensure that your child can take care of his/her diabetes at least up to the basic level. Older children can be trained to manage their diabetes; younger children may begin slowly or at least get started so that they acquire the necessary skills over time.
With help, your child can overcome the initial hiccups of dealing with diabetes. Give practical instances to get a feel of the actual scenario. But avoid overwhelming a child with too much information/training. Children who have or acquire the required skills to manage their diabetes can be allowed to manage their conditions in conjugation with other people, like with the school authority.
Encourage Sustainable Healthy Habits
Habits are formed over time and the best way to inculcate them is to begin early. Stress the significance of adopting healthy habits like eating nutrition-rich foods and exercising regularly. They can go a long way in managing diabetes and its complications. Right from a healthy breakfast, a nutrition-packed lunch to low-fat snacking, incorporate every item of a healthy meal plans.
Children snack too often and should be careful of not consuming empty calories. If they eat at the cafeteria, they should be assisted in choosing healthy foods. Stress the need for physical activity and limit screen time. Involve with the child so that he/she is attracted to physical activeness. Whenever possible, have a bicycle ride or play basketball together. By being active, a child can improve his/her blood sugar control.
Connect with your Child’s School
Diabetic children need extra care at the school; you should prepare in advance before your child joins school after diagnosis and primary treatment (when the doctor allows the child to attend school). You can plan an extensive meeting with the school authority equipping with appropriate tools for managing your child’s diabetes. You can meet the staff (nurse, teacher, etc.) specifically to ensure things are aligned in a proper way.
Medications, blood sugar monitoring, foods in the cafeteria, and physically activity are some of the prominent areas you should take care of. Additionally, you can provide a medical identity of your child to enable people be aware of his/her special needs. Keep your contact numbers updated so that you can easily be informed of the status of your child, particularly when there might be an emergency. It is also helpful when you can train a group of people to manage diabetes at school. You can also ask your team of health care experts (or that of the school) to do so.
Countries, like America, have constitutional and legitimate proceedings against child discrimination. When needed, these can be implemented to enable a child enjoy his/her rights as a citizen.
Adopt Preventive Measures To Avoid Sick Days And Absenteeism
Seeing a sick child is not easy for parents. Frequent absenteeism from school is also a discouragement to academic performance and can reduce your child’s self-esteem. You should implement the required precautionary measures to keep your child in a healthy state. Diabetic children can take more time to recover from an illness as against non-diabetic children. As far possible, keep them from falling sick.
Precautionary measures also include getting the recommended vaccines, encouraging good hygiene like washing hands regularly, keeping safety, maintaining a permissible weight, managing diabetes through insulin or medications, adopting healthy lifestyle, limiting screen time, checking hemoglobin A1c levels regularly and exercising regularly.
Preventive measures can contribute significantly towards avoiding (or delaying) complications arising out of diabetes. These can make a child’s life closer to the normal level allowing much room for his/her childhood to blossom. Over and above other things, the will to combat an illness is most important. Give your child consistent encouragement to elevate his/her spirit for overcoming the condition.