November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Whether you personally know someone with Diabetes or not, it is a great time to teach kids about this chronic illness so they can be understanding and accepting of friends that they may encounter with Diabetes.
My Mother-in-Law has diabetes that she developed only a few years ago when she was in her 70s. Every time we have family gatherings, we observe the questions about food, testing and more. Plus, we have seen the effects when it is not being managed effectively.
Recently, when my kids were watching Caillou on PBS Kids, one of Caillou’s friends was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Caillou becomes very protective and is concerned that she is running and playing on the playground, carrying books, and more. In the episode, Caillou realizes Emma’s diabetes isn’t something that is temporary, like a cold. It’s something Emma has to live with every day…but that diabetes doesn’t mean one needs to put one’s life on hold. With proper management, a person with diabetes can do anything they want to do – just like someone without!
Tips and Resources
It was nice to see a show provide an educational value about Diabetes and it helped my kids understand what Grandma has, and accepting if they have friends in school with Diabetes. So here are some Diabetes tips and resources to aid in teaching kids about Diabetes.
1. For younger kids, watch the Caillou Episode (Season 7, Episode 7)
2. Keep equipment away from kids for safety, but let them watch the testing and ask questions, like, “Does it hurt?”, “How does it make you feel?”.
3. Make sure they understand that people can’t catch diabetes like a cold or flu, and that nobody did anything wrong to get diabetes. Kids often feel like someone must be ‘bad’ or touched something to get it. It is important for them, in acceptance and understanding, to know that it was something that many people were just born with.
4. As they get older, you can explain the different between Type 1 and Type 2, but for younger kids, keep it simple.
5. Create a diabetes play kit. A play diabetes care kit could include a Needless lancing device, needless syringe, an old bottle of insulin, alcohol wipes, a glucose meter, expired test strips, and a juice box or glucose tablets, and a stuffed animal. This would be good for a classroom.
5. The book Taking Diabetes to School by Kim Gosselin may be helpful for those families and/or teachers who wish to discuss type 1 diabetes in the classroom. The book is appropriate for children ages 5-10 years old, though you can just read certain sections to make it appropriate for younger children.
— Charlene DeLoach (@CharleneDeLoach) November 5, 2014
As parents, we need to keep ourselves healthy and our kids healthy so we, and they, don’t develop Type 2 Diabetes. So make sure to eat, and serve, plenty of fruits and vegetables, limit intake of sugary drinks (that includes those Apple Juice Boxes!), use sweeteners like Splenda® in lieu of sugar, and opt for lower carb foods.
Check out HealthyEssentials.com for the essentials you may need if you are currently managing the effects of Diabetes or know someone who is. The site has great coupons for a variety of items, like Bandaids® and NEOSPORIN®, because even the smallest crack in the skin, can cause big problems with people with Diabetes! My Mother-in-Law tries to keep her skin moisturized during the winter months to help prevent cracking hands and feet, so moisturizer like LUBRIDERM® can help manage healthy skin.
This November, during Diabetes Awareness Month, teach about acceptance, learn about ways to stay healthy with and without Diabetes!
This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.
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