Strategies to support siblings

  • Try to keep things as normal as you can and avoid diabetes taking over family life.
  • Try and spend some special time alone with your child without diabetes, doing something fun and that they really enjoy.
  • Be consistent in the way you discipline all your children.
  • Explain diabetes in simple terms to siblings. They need to know what is happening and feel involved. Involving siblings in the initial diabetes education may help.
  • Don’t expect siblings to always be responsible for their brother or sisters diabetes. It can overwhelm them and make them feel guilty if anything goes wrong.
  • Make sure that the whole family eats the same healthy foods, not just the child with diabetes and that treats are for everyone. Avoid using ‘treats’ such as jelly beans for hypo treatment, opt for juice instead.
  • Families often find that they have become closer because of diabetes, so problems can be sorted out with patience and understanding.
  • Talk to your diabetes team if you are concerned about a sibling, they may refer them to a social worker or psychologist. Some services may offer “Sibling Days” for brothers and sisters of children with diabetes, these are usually small group education and support days.