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Tips for parents of newly diagnosed children

As a parent, you do everything you can to protect your child. But when you hear the words “type 1 diabetes,” it can feel like your entire world is turned upside down. When your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, helpless, or scared as you begin your diabetes journey. But the more you learn about diabetes, how to manage it, and what to expect, the more confident and empowered you will feel! You got this — and we’re in this with you every step of the way.

What is diabetes?

When your child has type 1 diabetes, it means their pancreas makes little or no insulin.1 Insulin is a hormone that helps the body convert blood sugar into energy. Because the body needs insulin to live, your child will need to take it daily, either by injection or via an insulin pump.2 Diabetes can come with lots of shots, so many people prefer to reduce the amount of needle pokes by opting for an insulin pump instead. Find out more about diabetes.

Family walking together

How do I manage type 1 diabetes?

Checking your child’s sugar levels is very important. Because sugar levels fluctuate throughout the day, it’s important to check your child’s glucose levels consistently using either a glucometer or continuous glucose monitor (CGM).3 The goal is to work with your child’s healthcare team to keep their levels within their target range of 70-180 mg/dL as much as possible. Checking your child’s glucose levels is vital to avoiding hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).

While CGM has become a standard for diabetes care, using a CGM that integrates with an insulin pump allows the technology to go above and beyond simply monitoring. When combined, a CGM can help power an automated insulin delivery system that does more of the thinking and acting when it comes to managing diabetes — giving you more mental freedom and your child more time to be a kid!

Do schools make accommodations for children with diabetes?

Talk to your child’s school about outlining any potential accommodations, such as a Section 504 Plan. Having this discussion helps make sure everyone is on the same page regarding your child’s diabetes management. This can mean that staff makes sure your child has time to check their blood sugar or take insulin. Your child may also need snacks throughout the day in order to treat a low blood sugar, so it’s a good practice to make sure they always have something on hand. The plan can even allow your child to delay taking a test if their sugar levels are out of range or make sure they're able to attend field trips.

Child in school wearing an insulin pump

What are some tips for navigating diabetes with my child?

Educate yourself

Living with diabetes will be a learning experience for both you and your child. There are ample resources available that can help you learn more about this condition and how to manage it. Talk to your child’s healthcare team, as they can direct you to many education and support services.

Check out our resources for parents and caregivers for general diabetes info and education, different therapy options available, tips and advice from others living with diabetes, FAQs, and more. There's also info about diabetes camps (a great way for kids to get active, make new friends, and learn more about diabetes management!) as well as links to some handy guides you can to give to your child's teacher, coach, and babysitter to help them understand your child's diagnosis. With these resources and some trial and error, you can learn how to balance the diet, medication, and exercise needs of your child.

Be patient

You should expect highs and lows. Type 1 diabetes can be a constantly changing condition, and it’s often a different experience for everyone. As you figure out what works for your child when it comes to food and activity, you’ll be able to better manage their diabetes and figure out what works best for your family. Finding healthy foods that your child likes, as well as fun ways to keep them active, will go a long way in avoiding potential health complications in the future.

Reach out for support

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are millions of people living with diabetes all over the world, and chances are you have a friend or family member who could have their own diabetes connection! Lean on your own personal network when you have questions or need advice. There are also support groups available for parents of children with diabetes, and the #MedtronicChampion community is a great place to connect with others who have similar experiences.

Have hope

Remember — you can do this. While type 1 diabetes will call for some adjustments in both your child’s (and your own) life and daily routine, it’s important to remember that it’s manageable, and you are not in this alone. With the right combination of medical care and support at home, your child can live a long, happy, and healthy life.

  1. Type 1 diabetes. The Mayo Clinic Page. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-1-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20353011. Accessed 16SEP2021
  2. Just Diagnosed With Type 1 Diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Page. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/diabetes-type-1-diagnosis.html. Accessed 16SEP2021
  3. Manage Blood Sugar. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Page. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/manage-blood-sugar.html. Accessed 16SEP2021

Resources for parents and caregivers

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