How to manage Your child’s diabetes in a school setting
By Kalynne M. Defever
National Kidney Foundation of Michigan Communications Coordinator
OSCEOLA COUNTY — The month of August is often spent preparing for your children to go back to school and getting school supplies ready. But if your child has diabetes, the most common chronic disease in children, then you have a lot more to prepare for.
This means buying diabetes supplies to keep at school and also preparing school staff to help keep your child safe at school and at school-sponsored activities.
Taking the correct steps to manage your child’s diabetes is important when preparing for the school year. Follow these seven key tips to help you and your child get ready for the whole school year:
- Meet with the school staff before the first day of school. Meeting with the school before the first day of school is important to make sure they are provided with up-to-date medical information and emergency contact information.
- Develop a Diabetes Medical Management Plan. This plan contains the medical orders for your child. It should be signed by his or her health care team and submitted to the school nurse at the start of each school year. An updated plan is needed if there are changes in your child’s diabetes care plan during the year. Having a plan in line will make you and your child feel more comfortable.
- Provide the school with all the supplies, medicines and items needed for your child. Your child needs access to supplies to manage their diabetes so they can treat any episode of high or low blood sugar. Also, have your child wear medical ID jewelry so everyone is aware of the situation in case of an emergency.
- Discuss an emergency plan. Make sure there is an emergency plan made that everyone is informed — including your child, the school nurse, teachers and staff.
- Promote healthy eating at home and pack healthy foods for your child at school. Prepare a healthy breakfast and if you send a lunch with your child, pack a healthy meal that contains whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. Include a healthy snack such as granola or seeds, which will help your child to avoid the vending machine during the day.
- Be sure your child gets at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Being active can help your child improve their blood sugar control. Limit TV, video games and other electronic devices. Being active and engaging in screen-free activities at an early age establishes healthy habits for a lifetime.
- Help prevent sick days. Make sure your child is up-to-date on all their shots and encourage them to wash his or her hands regularly, especially before eating and after using the restroom. This will help prevent sick days.
Diabetes doesn’t have to get in the way of your child having a good experience at school. Make sure your child’s school staff has the information and resources they need for to help keep your child safe and healthy. For more information about diabetes care and the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, visit nkfm.org or call (800) 482-1455.