When your child has diabetes
Raising a child is both wonderfully rewarding and hugely challenging. If your child has been diagnosed with diabetes, those challenges can increase greatly and it’s common to feel overwhelmed.
Always remember that with the right care and support your child can lead a healthy and happy life.
Infants and young children have no understanding of diabetes, and like any child of this age, they are totally dependent on their parents and carers which can make life even harder. It’s normal to feel fatigued and frustrated with the demands of managing diabetes in children as it needs careful attention every day.
You may find that you go through cycles of emotions – perhaps you feel guilt, frustration, helplessness, sadness, anger, and even joy when everything goes according to plan. This is all very normal but it’s also important to put things in place to look after yourself too.
Different things work for different people but we have some suggestions that may help.
Make diabetes normal
With young children, incorporating play in their diabetes routine can really help. For example, pretending to give their teddy bear an injection or pushing the button on the meter with teddy’s paw, can help kids begin to understand and normalise their diabetes routine.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Your health professional team is always there for support and guidance.
- Ask for support from your partner, family and friends. Share diabetes-related tasks with them.
- Encourage others to attend education sessions or support groups to learn more about diabetes so they are better able to provide you with the support you need.
- Share your feelings with others such as your partner, friends or relatives, support groups, your doctor, or other health professionals such as a social worker or psychologist.
- Support groups can be a great place to pick up and share tips and tricks or just talk about how you are feeling with people who are experiencing similar challenges.
- Keep in touch with your diabetes educator. Ongoing education can help you and your child during different stages.
- Diabetes NSW & ACT offers a free a Psychologist on Call service. Our Psychologist, is available for confidential phone discussions to help you work through any stress or anxiety you may be feeling. To access this service, call our Helpline on 1300 342 238 to make an appointment.
Make time for yourself
Managing the daily demands of your child’s diabetes may seem to take up most of your time, but to care for your child you need to take care of yourself too, so find time for yourself as well. It’s an important and worthwhile investment to help you cope with the daily demands of parenting.
If you have questions our as1diabetes website offers a range of practical tips, hints and resources to help parents and their kids better understand and manage their diabetes. Don’t forget you can also speak to your GP, diabetes healthcare team or call the Diabetes NSW & ACT Helpline on 1300 342 238 for support and advice.