I happened to be talking to my neighbour over the weekend and the subject of sleepovers came up. Her daughter is 9 years of age and preparing for her first sleepover. It got me thinking of what it must be like as a parent of a child with Type 1 Diabetes and dealing with the issue of sleepovers. I don’t see having Type 1 Diabetes as an obstacle to a child with Type 1 Diabetes having a sleepover once the preparation is done well in advance. 

The following is Diabetes Insights Top Tips for Parents of Children with Type 1 Diabetes & the issue of sleepovers

For the Parents of a Child with Type 1 Diabetes

  • Making friends and building up support with other parents of children with Type 1 Diabetes, as they will be the best people to understand the fear of sleepovers.
  • Begin with allowing your child to attend day events organised by charities such as Diabetes Ireland (www.diabetes.ie), that are usually facilitated by professionals & parents of children with Type 1 Diabetes, so that both your child and you become comfortable with being apart and organising yourself for such a situation.
  • Make sure you plan ahead.  Last minute rushing can lead to details being missed.
  • Sit down with your child: In the excitement and anticipation of a sleepover be sure to set expectations  with your child and remind them of the basics. Have ample time to talk about possible scenarios and how to handle them.
  • Have an open line of communication with the other parents: Have all of the details of your child’s specific diabetes plan typed up in a folder. They can read it over and familiarize themselves with the information on their own time and then they have a hard copy to refer to in case there are any issues.
  • Avoid information overload. Keep information given to other parents as simple as possible to avoid confusion.
  • Know it may not work out and have a Plan B: We all know that diabetes has it’s own agenda and despite our best efforts, sometimes the numbers take over. Be honest with your child that this may or may not work out this time, their health is too important.

Parents of Friend

  • It is vital to put all parties at ease (the child, parents and friends parents)  that the parents of the friend are well equipped with the knowledge and information they need. Including written & verbal information on when the child should measure his or her blood glucose and take insulin is imperative.
  • They should be able to measure blood glucose and know where to turn if something should happen. They should also know how to treat low or high blood glucose.
  • It is also important for the child to bring along a personal page with current phone numbers for the parents or another contact person in case of emergency. Having one simple folder divided into sections with all this information included is useful.
  • Always contact the child’s parent/guardian if blood glucose is too high or too low.
  • Never leave a child alone if he or she has low blood glucose or feels funny.
  • In the event of unconsciousness do not put anything in the child’s mouth! Call an ambulance!
  • The child should always have some form of ID (e.g. card, necklace, bracelet) that indicates that they have diabetes.
  • The child should always carry glucose, which quickly helps in the event of a drop in blood sugar.

We would love to hear of your top tips to add to our list. Please contact us by filling in the form below!