How to Know What's Best for Your Child

As you mature in your role of a parent of a child with diabetes, you'll begin to wonder about different treatment plans, and you may find one that you feel is right for your child and your family. Knowing which is best and then working on making it happen with your medical team takes education and persuasion.

Family Patterns

First, you need to look at your family patterns. Are you the kind of family that always eats at the same time, has scheduled activities, and sticks to the same routine day in and day out? If so, you may not mind having insulin that peaks multiple times during the day. Some parents find that being forced on to a meal plan because of insulin peaks makes food choices (and demands) easier to follow.

Are you a family that's more seat-of-the-pants? Perhaps you wake up on a Saturday morning and decide, right then, that you want to go hike a mountain ridge you've long eyed. Does your family tend to eat at different times each day? Are you on the run? If this is you, longer-acting insulin with no peaks may be your best choice.

Listen to Your Child

What about your child's opinion? Even the smallest of children can have a say in what type of insulin they end up using. While a child cannot study peak patterns and side effects, she can voice how she feels about her daily routine from a young age.

Ask your preschooler if he likes having a snack two to three times a day and eating on a schedule as NPH requires. Some will say yes; others might say they'd like to be able to eat or not eat when they choose. If your child asks for a different pattern than you've been using, look into an insulin change and when you can make it happen, let her know you listened to her and acted on her wishes.

Alert!

Any way you can make your child feel empowered in his medical choices, do it. Kids—even little ones—need to feel they have some control over this disease. Discuss all the options, all the pros and cons of each option with your child, and then come up with a solution together that you both support.

Some children may not like the added daily shots from fast-acting insulin. If you talk to your child about the freedom to eat or not eat when they want and do not plan on going to a pump, you need to explain to her that this will most likely mean more shots. But explain, too, that shots can come in the form of the basic needles she is used to or from insulin pens. Some kids prefer the pens because they can look “cooler and friendlier” and some of the needles might hurt less.

Once you and your child agree on a wanted change, talk to your team. In most cases, if you show them you've done the research and understand the insulin, they'll help you make it happen. With these great choices, parents don't need to ask their children to suffer more. It's a new century, thank goodness.

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