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Finding a caregiver for a child with Type 1 Diabetes

Child care can be quite a bit more complicated and challenging when you are caring for a child with Type 1 Diabetes. Normal things like eating popcorn with a movie, or going to play soccer together, require more careful planning and concern. It is vital to the child’s life and health that you understand, have experience, or are trained to understand the special needs that come with Type 1 Diabetes. The parents of the child will be relying on your knowledge and understanding with the life of their child, which is nerve wrecking for them. However, with proper preparation and training, you can care for and enjoy the experience of providing care for a child with Type 1 Diabetes. Here are some of the considerations to keep in mind:

Matching a caregiver with a child who has Diabetes

As you know, children with Type 1 Diabetes need special care and timely medication. This is a fundamental part of caring for the child, and the average person will not be aware of how to properly administer it without practice. It is necessary to have experience caring for children with Type 1 diabetes, or undergo Type 1 diabetes care training. In order to be qualified, you should be confident and able to:

  • monitor the blood glucose levels
  • administer insulin
  • provide regular balanced meals and snacks
  • balance medications, food and physical activity
  • recognize the signs of high and low blood glucose

Get Everyone on the Same Page

Once you know the fundamentals of Type 1 Diabetic care, it is important to get on the same page as the parents. All parents want the best for their children and want them to be able to live as normal a life as possible, despite any health conditions. A care plan can be written and put into place to help make that happen. This plan can be shared with the child, parents and caregivers. Caregivers can include teachers, babysitters, other family members or nannies. The goal of the care plan is to control the child’s condition, prevent short and long-term problems, and minimize the symptoms to allow for normal physical, emotional, social, and mental growth and development. The main priority of these plans should be for both the parents and other caregivers to keep blood glucose levels normal, or as close to normal, as possible at all times. While this is not a cure, it can help children with diabetes normalize their life.

Awareness of Diet Restrictions

One of the primary factors in controlling blood glucose levels, is managing the diet. In result, it is important for you and the parents to come up with a plan for the child’s eating schedule while they are in your care. This can be included in the care plan that is mentioned above. It is best if the parent’s can make a schedule of when and what the child needs to eat. Identify if they will be packing food, or who is in charge of providing the food. Although the planning may be tedious and almost drilled down to a science, the parents know more than anyone how important a proper food schedule is to maintaining that child’s normal glucose level.

As a trained caregiver, you need to be completely aware of the importance of diet with a diabetic child and should be looking for a very detailed food schedule. It is actually a red flag to parents if you are not asking.

The Balancing Act

The schedule also needs to include the times that the child will take their insulin. There needs to be that balance between the timing and type of meals they have, the level of insulin intake and the level of their activity. Eating some foods will increase the blood glucose level and, on the other hand, insulin and exercise will decrease it. You need to be aware of this at all times and be monitoring activities carefully to ensure levels are not too high or low.

Educate and Be Supportive

Educating the child to understand about their diabetes, will have a big impact on how the child perceives the condition. It is important that both you and the parents understand Type 1 Diabetes very well, so that you can clearly show the child why they are doing what they are doing. Help them gain independence by pointing out indicators of low and high glucose levels, and how activities, food and medication affect them. Boost the child’s self-esteem by being supportive and positive. Nannies and parents should show and help the children understand that their life does not only revolve around diabetes. Discuss other things that are happening such as social events, sports, school, and community activities. With the combined effort between you and the parents, you can provide the care a child with Type 1 Diabetes needs.