Your child will have diabetes their whole life, but this does not mean it has to be their whole life (or yours!). Children’s Child Life Specialists and Endocrinology team created this list to help avoid the diabetes blues.
High and low blood sugars are inevitable and will happen.
Managing your child’s diabetes does not mean they will always have in-range blood sugars. We will never be able to perfectly do what a complex pancreas does in people without diabetes, and that is okay. Fulfilling, healthy lives are still possible! We want people with diabetes to be in range as much as they can, because that helps them to feel their best.
Avoid Value Judgments
Identify numbers as “in-range” and “out-of-range” instead of “good” or “bad.” This nonjudgmental approach helps foster openness and honesty about diabetes. If a child finds they will always be met with a negative reactions from you when they have an out-of-range reading, they will begin to avoid telling you about out-of-range readings. Feeling shameful about BG readings and avoiding conversations about them is helpful neither for diabetes management nor for your relationship with your child.
Remember that all information is good information.
Instead of reacting positively or negatively to a number, try thinking to yourself (or aloud!), “I am glad we checked, because now we have the information we need to know what to do next.” Model this mindset for your child.
Advocacy is a great way to help your child feel empowered through his or her diabetes. Invite your child to participate in teaching other caregivers, classmates, and friends about his or her diabetes in a way that is meaningful to them.Find support that works for your family. There are online diabetes groups, kids’ play groups, teen groups, parent coffee meet-ups, research and fundraising groups, special events, day camps, weekend camps, summer camps, sports camps—the list goes on and on. For some families, finding others to connect with that understand family life with diabetes can be an incredible form of connection and support. You can help normalize your child’s experiences by allowing for opportunities to observe peers also checking their blood sugars and taking insulin. Forming connections with others with diabetes can create meaningful and understanding relationships that have the potential to support both diabetes management and emotional well-being.
Extracurricular activities, social interactions, school experiences, and everyday life activities are important for you and your child to promote normal growth and development. Diabetes will defi nitely play a role in each of these but should not prevent activities or control every aspect of a person’s life. Professional athletes, surgeons, racecar drivers, climbers of Mount Everest, musicians, and all sorts of others have proved over and over again that anything is possible with diabetes. Just Google “famous people with diabetes” to get inspired!