Every mom knows that when you have a child who’s sick, it can affect the whole family, not just the one who has the sniffles. Scheduling and rescheduling appointments, interrupting school and social activities, changing meal plans, juggling medications and even missing work—all can be common when dealing with even the most minor of illnesses.
Now, consider the ongoing challenges that families can encounter when they have a child living with diabetes. Those same temporary inconveniences can turn into long-term changes to the family lifestyle.
Fortunately, there are teams of dedicated caregivers who specialize in the treatment of pediatric diabetes—teams like those headed by Dr. Anil Kumar of Bon Secours Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes Associates in Richmond, Virginia.
Experts like Dr. Kumar know that part of providing advanced treatment options to children with diabetes is also providing the proper level of encouragement to the family as a whole, and the confidence to manage the ongoing impact of pediatric diabetes.
Here are six encouraging tips that can help more moms—together with their families and caregivers—find success by taking a team approach to managing childhood diabetes.
- Pay attention to detail. A diagnosis of diabetes may initially feel overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that, with a little extra attention to detail and the right level of care, life with diabetes can absolutely be manageable for children. And, paying attention to detail is essential when it comes to keeping track of changes in diet, exercise and medication.
- Practice patience. No mom on earth has ever dealt with a child’s diabetes without making some mistakes. Perfection may not be possible, but patience is, and it will help both you and your child set realistic expectations for keeping blood glucose levels within targeted levels.
- Get comfortable with your health care team. You spend a lot of time with your family, but your time with the health care team that helps you manage pediatric diabetes is limited. Make the most of your visits by asking questions, and don’t hesitate to let your child ask questions of their own, too. If there’s something that you don’t understand, ask your doctor to clarify. Experts like Dr. Kumar are well-trained in making complex medical information understood by children and families alike.
- Take diabetes seriously. No one benefits from being consumed with stress, but because of the potentially serious consequences from mismanagement, your child’s diabetes is something that you should take very seriously. Skipping scheduled checks of your child’s blood glucose levels can lead to serious health issues, including kidney failure, poor circulation and even the loss of vision.
- Don’t forget the siblings. If you’re a mom with more than one child, make sure you’re keeping in mind how the diabetes diagnosis affects all of your children. It’s not uncommon for children to express feelings of guilt, fear or even jealousy when their brother or sister is diagnosed with diabetes. Share information with them that can help to calm their fears, and make them feel like they’re part of your child’s care team, too.
- Remember that you have a team on your side to support you. When your child is diagnosed with diabetes, you become a part of an active, national community of parents and family members just like you. Advocacy groups, both in person and online, can be great ways to learn even more tips for managing your child’s diabetes every day. Explore the websites of organizations such as the American Diabetes Association (diabetes.org) and JDRF (jdrf.org) to find support groups active in Richmond and surrounding areas.
Your child’s diabetes deserves a child’s diabetes expert. Dr. Anil Kumar specializes in metabolic disorders, like diabetes, as part of Bon Secours’ expert team of physicians, nurses and dietitians with training and experience treating pediatric diabetes.
See how Dr. Kumar can help your child today. To make an appointment, call 804-287-7322. Or, visit bonsecours.com/child-diabetes to learn more.