This post is brought to you by Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.
Raising a child with diabetes is hard enough as it is. When you mix in school and extracurricular activities, it can seem downright impossible. There’s a checklist of supplies (and worries) that swirls inside of your head when the big first day of school arrives. Not only do you worry about how their diabetic needs will be properly addressed and acknowledged, but you’re also anxious over how they’ll mesh with the other kids in their class. You want them to have the same school experience as everyone else. After all, they’re still kids, despite their diagnosis.
While I can’t guarantee that your worries will completely subside, I can help you breathe a little easier with these 5 ways to keep your child’s diabetes management smooth sailing for the new school year. These tips are brought to you in partnership with the care team at the Robert I. Grossman, MD, and Elisabeth J. Cohen, MD, Pediatric Diabetes Center, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone. They care for children who have type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and other less common forms of diabetes from infancy through adolescence. They
understand the effect diabetes has both on your child and your whole family.
1. Make sure there’s a nurse at school: One sure-fire way to decrease your worrying is by making sure there’s a nurse present at school at all times. At many schools, they will have a parent volunteer staffing the clinic station. In the event that your child needs intervention for their diabetes management, make sure there is a medical plan in place so your child receives the help they need when they need it.
2. Create a plan for after-school extracurricular activities: Not only should you be aware of whether there’s a nurse present at your child’s school, but you need to create a medical plan for their after-school programs and ensure that there’s an adult present who can follow it. Discretely make sure your child’s coach or teacher is also aware of their condition and is able to assist your child if need be.
3. List a rundown of your child’s medical supplies: Just because you know exactly what supplies your child has and needs doesn’t mean everyone who comes into helpful contact with them will. It’s a good idea to create a rundown list of all of your child’s supplies, the quantity of those supplies and where they will be centrally located for ease of access. You should also jot down if your child will be carrying around their own testing equipment to treat hypoglycemia. Create a copy for your school to have on-hand, for your child to carry in their backpack and for yourself to keep at home.
4. Supply your child with a “low” fix in their backpack: In addition to educating your child about the signs of their blood sugar dropping low, store a low blood sugar “fix” snack and/or beverage. This could be gummy bears, hard candy, jelly, apple sauce, fruit juice or a small can of soda. Let your child’s teacher know that this is for their diabetes management.
5. Check out the carb count on your child’s lunch menu: If you live in the great state of New York and your child attends public school, you can easily view the lunch menu’s carb count online. This is especially helpful if your child is like my daughter, where they purchase their meals at school instead of taking a pre-packed lunchbox. It is extremely important to know how many carbs your child will be consuming throughout the day so they can receive the insulin dosage necessary.