Diabetes can be a frightening and overwhelming diagnosis for anyone, but the condition can be especially frightening for young children who may not fully understand the condition or its ramifications.
Since type 1 diabetes is a condition that isn't likely to go away anytime soon, you'll have to find ways to help yourself and your child deal with the new diagnosis. Here are the first four steps you should take.
1. Help Your Child Understand the Disease
Unless your child has a relative or friend who also suffers from type 1 diabetes, he or she probably doesn't really understand what it is. Do some research together and explain everything in kid-friendly terms as much as possible. Find out what questions your child has, and answer them to the best of your ability.
2. Help Your Child Recognize the Warning Signs to Watch Out For
Diabetes can be dangerous, especially when it is not treated in a timely fashion. Teach your child the signs of high and low blood sugar that he or she needs to watch out for. Common symptoms include extreme thirst, tiredness, sudden vision changes, constant hunger and frequent urination.
3. Teach Your Child How to Perform Routine Care Procedures
With type 1 diabetes, proper care is crucial, even during those times when you cannot be around. Teach your child how to take or inject insulin, how to eat a healthy diet and how to get the right amount of exercise. This will help keep him or her safe when you're not around.
4. Address the Social Aspect as Well
Lastly, don't neglect to address the social aspect of diabetes as well. Children may feel left out, sad, different or in trouble because they have a condition the rest of their friends don't have. Address your child's fears and concerns in a friendly and truthful way. Your child will pick up on the clues you send more than you know.
Type 1 diabetes can be frightening and overwhelming at first, but you don't have to let it take over your lives. These four action steps will get you started on the path to success!