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10 Tips for Parenting a Child with Type 1

Having a child with Type 1 can be a full-time job that can be hard to manage at first. There are physical and emotional aspects to caring for a T1D child. Here are some tips to manage the day-to-day and thrive with a T1D child.

  1. Take time to grieve. At first, it will be hard to wrap your head around the diagnosis. It’s ok to take the time to mourn the “normal” life you had and feel the sadness that comes with it. But after a while, you can move on into new routines and patterns that will help your child thrive with Type 1.
  2. Give your child options. Since there are certain things that your child can’t eat, allow her choices in other areas, like what protein to eat for dinner or which restaurant to go to. This way, she has some control.
  3. Spend special time with your other kids. Siblings of a T1D child may often feel left out as you spend more time caring for your child with Type 1. Schedule one-one-one time to do fun things with her siblings so that each child knows you enjoy them.
  4. Find others you trust to watch your child. It’s ok for your T1D child to go on a play date or spend time with a friend or relative. Make sure to educate the adult on everything they need to know for T1D diabetes care, and let them know they can call you if they need you. Having trusted friends to watch her will allow you to have a breather.
  5. Take a break. Take time for yourself to get your mind off diabetes. Whether it’s taking a walk, reading a book, writing in a journal, watching a movie – or even going on a weekend away – time away will refresh you and let your mind and body be more at ease.
  6. Don’t overschedule. It can be tempting to sign your kids up for lots of activities and sports, but when you are already managing school, work, and diabetes care that can be a lot for you and your kids. Sign up for one or two things, then schedule some family time on the weekends so you don’t end up exhausted.
  7. Educate yourself (and your kid’s teachers and nurses). Make sure you know all there is to know about diabetes care for your T1D child. Schedule a meeting with your child’s teachers and nurses to let them know the ins and outs, and give them all the emergency contact information for care providers. Managing diabetes sometimes takes a team effort, so meet with all the doctors, endocrinologists, and certified diabetes educators you need to. Have extra diabetes kits on hand at home and in your car.
  8. Work together with your spouse. Make sure that both parents know how to do blood testing and diabetes care. It can be hard to manage alone. Take turns or designate days where one parent is in charge. It will bring you comfort to know that there is someone else who can help. If you’re a single parent, enlist a family member or close friend who knows what to do in emergency situations.
  9. Find a support group. Support can make a huge difference in managing diabetes with a child. You are not alone! Find a support group for you or your family, and for your child there are diabetes summer camps that will give them a group who understands.
  10. Find perspective. It’s important to seek perspective when you’re overwhelmed. Every family goes through challenges, each in different ways. Your new way of life is yours. And with proper management, your child will be able to do normal activities and live like her peers. Make the most of it and try to stay positive!

chart - tips for parenting a child with T1D