Diabetes and school: how to prepare your child

Your child’s health is probably what is most important to you as a parent. Because diabetes is somewhat difficult to manage, it’s normal to have concerns about the start of the school year. Here are a few tips to make a smooth transition back to school.

Managing diabetes requires your child to be more autonomous. Also, your child will want to fit in with his/her peers and not feel different. Therefore, it is important to be well-prepared for this new challenge to achieve success!

To manage on his/her own at school, your child must first understand the disease and why insulin is so important. These instructions must also be given to the staff members who will be in contact with your child.

Essential information to be shared

Informing school staff of your child’s state of health is absolutely necessary. Ideally, you should meet with the staff members who will be in charge of your child’s well-being (teacher, lunch monitor, after-school care worker, nurse, etc.).

Here are some examples of issues that should be discussed during such a meeting:

  • Basic notions of diabetes:
    • What is diabetes?
    • What is hypoglycemia and what are the main symptoms?
    • What is hyperglycemia and what are the main symptoms?
    • What are the short-term and long-term consequences of poorly managed diabetes?
    • What is insulin used for and what are the risks associated with its use?
    • How important is it to adequately monitor blood glucose every day?
    • The target blood glucose levels your child should be striving for
    • Blood glucose values that indicate hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia  
    • Frequency of insulin injections and monitoring blood glucose using a blood glucose meter
    • The dose of insulin to be injected
    • Additional instructions if your child is using an insulin pump

Here are a few additional tips for a successful return to school:

  • Teach your child how to write down blood glucose results and the insulin doses that were injected. Some blood glucose meters have the option of easily saving this data electronically.
  • Make sure your child knows how the meter works and that it is used correctly.
  • If your child has lunch at school, make sure he/she eats enough so his/her blood glucose remains balanced.
  • Give your child and the school staff a personalized action plan, including a description of the steps to be taken in case of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. Ask your child’s doctor or health professional to help you develop a personalized action plan.
  • Encourage your child and the school staff to contact you if they have the slightest doubts or problems. Be sure to indicate your mobile or work number on the action plan or anywhere else it may be needed. Ideally, your child should know it by heart.
  • If hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic episodes occur more often than usual or if you notice your child or teen is letting things slide, don’t hesitate to have a discussion with him/her or to refer him/her to the doctor. It may be necessary to review the treatment plan. 
  • Listen to your child and be supportive. Acknowledge the efforts he/she has made to adequately manage his/her diabetes.

Back to school requires parents to put their trust in other adults in managing their child’s health. This can be a great concern for parents. Being well-prepared and having adequate communication with school staff if essential so that your child can enjoy his/her experience at school like other children. Moreover, your pharmacist is always there to help you if you need it. Also, the www.diabete.qc.ca/en/ website contains pertinent information on managing diabetes at school.

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Diabetes and school: how to prepare your child

Your child’s health is probably what is most important to you as a parent. Because diabetes is somewhat difficult to manage, it’s normal to have concerns about the start of the school year. Here are a few tips to make a smooth transition back to school.
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