Tips for developing a treatment plan for your child with diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is most commonly associated with children, but with the growing prevalence of obesity around the world, more and more children are at risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  Helping your child to grow into a healthy body weight will help to reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  

If your child is diagnosed with diabetes, accept and manage it together in a calm, careful and positive way. Dealing with diabetes during the childhood years adds to the challenges of growing up.  Your reaction to the news as a parent will help shape your child’s reaction and willingness to manage the condition.  

Follow these steps to help develop a treatment plan for your child:

• Seek advice from a holistic diabetes healthcare team, including a doctor, diabetes educator and dietitian. These healthcare professionals can help manage all of the physical, mental and emotional symptoms related to a new diagnosis. 

• Get advice from your healthcare team on how to keep special events normal and safe, including birthday parties, sleepovers, field trips, active play, and sports.  

• Help teachers, babysitters, coaches, school food service staff and others who will supervise your child understand diabetes, and how they can support your child’s healthcare plan. For example, teach them how to check your child’s blood glucose, administer medication, the daily plan for meals and snacks, symptoms of hypo- and hyperglycemia and how to react in each case.  

•   Help your child feel comfortable about asking to leave the classroom to monitor blood glucose or take insulin.
•  Gradually involve your child in taking responsibility for his or her diabetes.  Encourage rather than nag, even when things aren’t perfect.  

• Implement healthy eating habits together as a family.  A registered dietitian is able to provide a meal plan specific to your child’s needs, taking into account their preferences and lifestyle.  Rope-in your whole family in to embrace the new healthy habits.  

•  Support groups can often help too – look out for diabetes camps for kids, where many children in similar circumstances can learn from each other, and still have fun!

• Remember that obstacles are inevitable.  Managing diabetes is a lifelong commitment, and there will surely be times where it is overwhelming.  Do you best to stay calm and supportive, through all the ups and downs.  

• Make diabetes management a part of your parenting responsibility, but not the sole focus.  Keep the joys of growing up and a healthy family life!

You might also want to read this article on tips to save money on healthy food

Did you know?
Pick n Pay is committed to promoting health and wellbeing among South Africans, and employs a Registered Dietitian to provide free nutrition-related advice to the public. Contact Leanne Kiezer via the Pick n Pay Health Hotline on 0800 11 22 88 or to start your nutrition conversation. You can also visit to find a dietitian in your area who is registered with the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA).