While still challenging, children diagnosed with diabetes have an advantage
over those who develop the disease later in life. Diabetes requires a
change in lifestyle, which can be hard for older people who are set in
their ways. Your child has a chance to develop healthy habits and a better
diet in their formative years, which makes it easier to manage the disease
as an adult.
Below we go over some of the basics of managing juvenile diabetes. If you
have no experience dealing with the disease, these tips should serve as
a handy reference guide to help you keep track of all the things you need
to do. Remember to always consult with your child’s doctor for directions
specific to their condition.
Administering insulin is necessary for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
It is often the most difficult adjustment your child has to make after
being diagnosed, but with practice and good technique you can make it
easier for them.
Here are a few ways you can administer insulin to a child:
- Jet Injectors
Creating a Healthy, Fun Diet for Kids
If your child is a picky eater, having them eat the proper foods might
be harder than insulin injections. The good news is, diabetes patients
do not have to eat different foods than anyone else in your family. In
fact, the recommended diet for people diagnosed with diabetes is the
same as the recommended diet for people without the disease—the patients
just have more pressure to stick to it.
Contrary to popular belief, your child will not have to completely give
up sugar or snacks—they can still have birthday cake and enjoy an
occasional treat. The difference is that now you will have to pay close
attention to their blood glucose level and make sure that they are never
sneaking sugary or salty foods. You can check blood glucose with a take-home
testing kit. It is important to check levels before meals and two hours
Take this time to learn what kind of things your child likes to eat. Find
out which healthy foods they are particularly fond of and start presenting
them as special snacks. Your child will not have to maintain this lifestyle
alone. There are no special “diabetes foods.” Everyone in
your family can still eat the same meals. By following your child’s
recommended diet you should notice an improvement in your own health too.
Maintaining an Active Lifestyle
In many ways, children with diabetes end up living healthier lifestyles
than individuals without the disease. The consequences of foregoing exercise
and not eating right are harder on them, but they enjoy the same benefits
everyone else does by sticking to them.
Maintain frequent contact with your child’s physician after having
them join a sports team or starting a new exercise routine. Building an
active lifestyle is important for them, but starting off too strong can
end up doing more harm than good. If you have a child with Type 1 diabetes,
you will have to keep track of ketone levels and help your child figure
out how much is too much when it comes to physical activity. If the child
is involved in a sport, tell the coach about their condition and have
them keep an eye out for warning signs that child is pushing themselves
too hard, such as excessive thirst or frequent use of the bathroom.
Not every child is going to be into sports, and that’s okay. If going
to soccer practice is always a fight, it is less likely that your child
will carry on with the exercise once they grow up. Work with them to find
some physical activity that appeals to them, like swimming or hiking.
30 minutes of physical activity a day is a good goal to shoot for.
Building Blocks for the Future
Remember to keep a positive attitude. Managing a child’s diabetes
can be tough on parents, but by staying on top of it and keeping an upbeat
tone, the child will pick up on your positive attitude. The more you “normalize”
a diabetes lifestyle in their early years, the easier it will be for them
to carry on in adulthood.
This article contains general information about medical conditions and
treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as
such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis
of a physician.
If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should
consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.