How to Educate Your Child on Diabetes

nurse taking blood sample from a kid

It may surprise you, but diabetes does not exclusively develop in adults. It could also affect children as young as babies. And when that happens you, as a parent, need to educate your kid about this condition in order to properly manage it. You can seek guidance from your family health doctor in Orem for more suggestions aside from the following.

Have a conversation

Parents who have children with diabetes may be too eager to talk to them about the dangers of this condition. But, starting off with the negative aspects of this condition might stress your kid too much and even impact their method of managing diabetes.

Instead, have a conversation and let your child ask you what diabetes is and what it can do to them. By holding a discussion, your little one won’t feel the pressure too much in managing their illness. So, rather than ordering your child to avoid sweets or any other foods that could exacerbate their condition, help them understand the reason they can’t eat those foods.

Show the benefits, not the consequences

father and son roller skatingChildren learning that they have diabetes might not be able to fully understand its impact. But, if you tell them the consequences of not following a strict diet, it might scare them too much. What you should do instead is to focus more on the benefits of adhering to their diet.

By focusing on the benefits of properly managing diabetes, you’re using a more constructive way to help your kid be more disciplined. Psychologists say that positive reinforcement is much more effective in changing children’s bad habits than reminding them about the negative effects.

Adjust the message to the age

Toddlers – Babies and toddlers won’t be able to understand their condition yet. They won’t understand why you need to give them an injection every now and then, so you need to prepare yourself for regular bouts of bawling.

What you can do is to schedule their insulin injection when they’re about to take a nap or go to sleep at night. Crying for a toddler can be exhausting, so it would be best to administer the injection right before they sleep. Also, be sure to comfort them afterwards. It’s important that you soothe their feelings because they might associate you with pain if you regularly administer their insulin shots.

Preschool kids – Preschoolers are much more capable of managing the pain than toddlers. So, you can help them be more comfortable by letting them choose where you should administer their shots.

Grade-school to middle-school kids – Children at this age are much more independent and eager to take care of themselves. You can let them administer their own shots, but be by their side always. You should also ease off on giving them reminders, but don’t be too lenient since they need to be vigilant about taking care of themselves.

Teenagers – Helping teenagers manage their diabetes might be the hardest task since the majority of teenage kids can be stubbornly independent. So, adjust your message and try to sound more caring than domineering.

It can be hard to balance taking care of your child and letting them manage their diabetes on their own little by little, but it’s important that you don’t pressure your kid too much. What you can do is to go back to focusing on the benefits of proper diabetes management rather than telling them the consequences.

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