Wow, my family has had such a whirlwind summer; it’s hard to believe we’re in back to school mode already. To help prepare my daughter for her final year of Pre-K, I turned to what I know best – planning! As I started the good old back to school checklist, she started asking for a new dress (one that twirls) to wear on her first day. While developing my checklist, I began to think about parents of children living with diabetes and how different your checklist might be from mine. It turns out – pretty different.
I found a sample checklist on the Children With Diabetes website that I wanted to share with you – in hopes that it may help getting ready for back to school a little easier:
Give the school your mobile phone number in case of emergencies.
Tell the teacher and principal that your child is living with diabetes.
Meet with all the teachers who will work with your child.
Some education may be needed. Briefly describe what it means to live with diabetes. Both the American Diabetes Association and the JDRF have excellent booklets and pamphlets to assist you. Particularly good is the Association’s publication, Caring for Children with Diabetes.
Let the teacher know if snacks are a must! Your child should have a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack, and share what time you expect snacks to be eaten.
Lunch time? Find out at what time your child will be having lunch so you can plan their insulin accordingly.
Share the signs. Describe what happens when your child is hypoglycemic. Since every child reacts differently, tell the teacher exactly what to look for and how to respond. You might want to provide a one-page instruction sheet.
Give the teacher a supply of extra snack foods to keep in his/her desk, for emergency situations. In some schools, they may have you keep these in the nurse’s office.
Tell the teacher that if he/she suspects your child is experiencing hypoglycemia, your little one should not be left alone. If your child must go to the nurse’s office, make sure the teacher understands that someone must go with him/her.
I also found great videos from BlueLoop, formerly known as MyCareConnect, with key tips for preparing parents and children with diabetes for those upcoming schools days. Learn more here: Back to school, from MyCareConnect video and Care at School using MyCareConnect video.
In addition to checking off items on the list, I found that parents need to have a plan, literally, for when their child goes to school. The Diabetes Medical Management Plan is a great resource for parents of children living with diabetes. It’s a plan that your health care team develops for the school nurse and teachers. This plan includes detailed instructions and maps everything out – from snack time to when medication is given, as well as defines certain diabetes-related terms like hypoglycemia. It’s important to keep it updated with current medications that your child is taking.
I’d love to hear what you do to get your child ready for back to school. Feel free to share in the comments section below. You also can print off the checklist and start preparing today!
Here’s to a happy, healthy school year,
Disclosure: sanofi-aventis U.S. supports BlueLoop LLC, formerly known as MyCareConnect LLC, through a service agreement.