Living with Diabetes

Your child’s responsibility… how much is too much?


Children must have adult supervision for diabetes-related tasks but as they get older they will gradually begin to take on some of these tasks themselves.

Try to encourage some responsibility (for example, ask them to go and collect their meter) but ultimately you are responsible. Your child may not have much concept of time, so you will need to make sure snacks and insulin for instance, are given on time.

You may gradually transfer some tasks to your child. This varies according to their abilities and interest. Sometimes children become over-enthusiastic, then get fed up and want to give back the task or don’t do the task very well.

Breaking up the tasks into smaller steps rather than learning too much at a time may help your child to feel more confident.

When your child is younger handling small things such as syringes/insulin pens may be difficult as fine motor coordination is still in the process of development.

Your child is able to cooperate with you by sitting still for a finger prick and insulin injection. Being able to choose a finger or a site for injection makes them feel as though they’re helping and have some control.

Three or four year olds can sometimes recognise a hypo and by the time they reach five, six or seven this is more evident especially if you draw attention to a hypo as it happens and ask them to tell you how they are feeling.

Your child can tell you when they feel hungry but they may be a bit vague in their description of hypo symptoms. They may not say “I’m having a hypo”, they are more likely to say “I feel wobbly, funny”.

You can never be sure that your child knows their hypo symptoms. It is a good idea to draw attention to symptoms straight after a hypo occurs so that your child can talk them over with you. This will help them to remember how they feel and the warning signs of a hypo.

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