Best Tips to Teach Kids about Type One Diabetes
- One of the hardest things following your child’s diagnosis is explaining to them what its all about, why they have it and what life is going to be like from now onwards.
- As if that’s not to deal with, we are often left to educate school friends, teachers, parents of school friends in order to eliminate any preconceptions they have about Type 1 and to ensure they have a basic understanding of our our child’s needs.
- It can be hard to know where to start with finding age appropriate explanations, so let me help you by pulling some great ideas and resources together.
What is Type One?
- Kids need us to give them basic understanding of what is going on in the body in order to understand what happens in the case of type 1.
- This can be very basic for the younger children and more detail can be given as the child gets older.
- In very simple terms, part of the body called the pancreas stops working. Its job is to make insulin to help glucose get from the food we eat into the rest of the body to give us energy to run around and play. When it stops working we need to give our body insulin instead.
- For more age appropriate ways to explain Type One to children, check out the tips below.
Why do I have Type One?
- Kids want to know why they have Type 1.
- The honest answer is we don’t know.
- Its really important that they know its not due to anything they have done wrong and not down to anything they have eaten or not eaten and that nothing could of prevented it from happening.
- It just happens.
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Best Tips to Help them Understand Type One.
Here are some of the best tips for teaching children about type 1.
Tip 1: Watch age appropriate video clip resources.
Seeing something visual helps them understand and remember how the body works. Here are some fantastic age appropriate resources:
- Preschool age watch: Dr Ranj – Get Well Soon
- Primary age children: Diabetes UK – What is Type 1 Diabetes.
- Secondary age children: JDRF – Type 1 Diabetes 101
Tip 2: Join a local support group
- Diagnosis can feel very isolating.
- Kids can feel like the only one with Type 1.
- Joining a local support group can help your child see that there are plenty of other type 1 kids out there just like them.
- Also shows them all the different types of technologies out there for managing type 1.
Tip 3: Do a type 1 assembly
- JDRF have produced some fantastic resources for use in school assemblies.
- It raises awareness within the school.
- Gives all the children an understanding of what type 1 is.
Tip 4: Make a movie with your child.
- Have a go at making your own movie with your child.
- A day in the life of them.
- It will be a reminder of how far they’ve come and how it has not held them back.
Tip 5: Interactive Classroom Activities:
There is no one better qualified to speak to our children’s class mates than you! Educating them and raising awareness in their school is a fantastic opportunity and one the teachers are often happy to accommodate. There are lots of fun ways to make a Type One lesson fun and interactive
- carbohydrate counting game.
- act out the cells in the body.
- make a type 1 fact sheet.
- type 1 quiz.
- food sorting game into carbs and not carbs.
- show kit bag and equipment and explain what everything does.
- tell them a story of when your child was diagnosed so they can see that they haven’t always had Type One and that it can happen to anybody.
- put together a video of “A Day in the Life of . . . “.
Tip 6: Type 1 Story Books
- We all want our children to be happy.
- We don’t want Type One to limit their belief in themselves.
- Here are a few great books recommended to encourage and equip our little ones for living with the condition:
More Tips to come soon . . . leave yours below!
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Teaching Kids about Type 1.
- Every child is different and their needs at any one time are different.
- Diabetes is a vast and overwhelming condition.
- Its important to give them the right level of talk appropriate for their level of understanding.
- So many parents and carers have got so much wisdom to share and so many ideas of fun, exciting and fresh activities that are tried and tested.
- I would love to hear what has worked for you and your children so please do share any amazing resources or books that have helped in their type 1 education. You are all amazing!