Managing your child’s diabetes can be overwhelming, but Debbie Butler, L.I.C.S.W., C.D.E., Clinical Social Worker, Pediatrics and Behavioral and Mental Health in the Joslin Clinic, gives some tips on how to make it easier.
10 Tips to Help Manage Your Child’s Diabetes
- Parents need to take an active role in diabetes management tasks, regardless of the age of the child.
- Work with a health care team that is knowledgeable about pediatric diabetes. “At Joslin, we are lucky to have a large multi-disciplinary team of doctors, nurse educators, nutritionists, mental health specialists, child life specialists and other allied health professionals,” Butler says.
- See the health care team regularly – at least four times a year.
- Be honest with your health care team. Do not be afraid to tell them what is difficult for you and your child.
- Stay positive with your child. Tell him or her all of the things they are doing well, rather than focusing on what they need to work on.
- Be mindful of your facial expressions and what you say, especially when you see an out of range blood glucose. Stress to your child that there is no “bad” blood glucose, because you want him or her to be honest about their blood glucose levels.
- Find time to check in with your child about diabetes management.
- Make sure that you talk about non-diabetes issues as well, like you do with your other children. For example, when your children come home from school, ask them all about their day rather than just focusing on the blood glucose levels of the child with diabetes.
- Make sure your child does everything that he or she would have done if your child was not diagnosed with diabetes (ex. sports, sleepovers, parties, etc.).
- Prepare healthy foods for the entire family. A healthy meal plan for someone with diabetes is the same for someone without diabetes.
“Medical alert bracelets enable rapid identification of patients with a number of illnesses, including diabetes, which can make them unable to communicate their illness to others,” according to Shamai Grossman, M.D., Director of the Cardiac Emergency Center and Clinical Decision Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center).
Thank you to the Joslin Diabetes Center for the interview.