What do I tell my child about diabetes?
A type 1 diabetes diagnosis is a life-changing event that can be a shock to everyone in the family. It can be hard to figure out what to say to your child to assure them everything will be alright. Here’s a few places to start.
Let them know it’s not their fault.
There was nothing they did that caused their diabetes. Unfortunately, we don’t know why it happens. But there are people working every day to help make it easier to manage.
Diabetes care is a routine part of their day.
There are just some things they will have to do daily to manage their diabetes. Every day they have to wake up and brush their teeth. Now, they have to add check blood sugars and give insulin to that list of things to do. Acknowledge that it is work, but that it something that has to be done.
It’s not a limitation or excuse.
Diabetes doesn’t have to stop them from doing the things they want to do. If they want to play soccer or swimming, having diabetes won’t stop them. There just may be certain steps they will need to take to make sure they are safe when doing so. On the other hand, diabetes is not an excuse to do the things they don’t want to do. Spending an extra ten minutes in the nurse’s office to miss the math class they don’t like isn’t going to work either.
Acknowledge their emotions.
Let them share how diabetes affects them. Really listen and then be a source of hope for your child. Encourage them to ask questions and assure them they are not alone. From parents, siblings, doctors and nurses, they have an entire team to help them.
This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.