If you’re the parent of a child or teenager living with diabetes, managing their daily routines and treatment plans quickly becomes a big part of your daily routine, as well.
While caring for your child is certainly a rewarding part of life, the regular blood sugar testing, dietary and medication responsibilities, and constant monitoring that come with managing a child’s diabetes can feel overwhelming at times. After all, parents are only human, and more often than not they are busy ones dealing with full plates of their own, such as job stress and time poverty.
With this in mind, we’ve researched some pretty simple diabetes management “hacks” parents can use to make their own lives a little easier and a lot more worry-free, all while helping their kids and teens better manage their blood sugar and diabetes health. So, let’s get to it.
Tie Up That Test Kit. In Fact, Tie Up A Few!
One of the best things about test kits these days (beyond the fact that they can instantly give you a blood glucose measurement) is that most of them are quite affordable. So having more than one isn’t a problem for many families. Here’s a great hack. Zip tie, bungie or use elastic strips to attach a few kits in key places where your child will know where to find them but can’t unwittingly carry them off after they’ve finished testing. Maybe you attach one to a dresser drawer handle, a bathroom cabinet, a bedpost - the point is to make sure you and your child know where they are, so when it’s time for a test you’re not rushing around looking for a glucose meter and test strips.
Make the First Hour After School Devoted Diabetes Time
Devote the first hour after your child returns from school to do the things that need to get done in order to effectively manage diabetes. Charge up the glucose meters. Make sure all your child’s gear is working properly. Log the day’s blood glucose readings. Double check to make sure you have enough diabetic supplies on hand. Use this time to make sure your child’s diabetes testing and treatment plan is on track and on schedule. By doing so, you’ll spot any issues and be able to address them quicker and more effectively.
Label Your Charging Chords
If you’re like most families living with diabetes in the age of smartphones and tablets, you have a lot of devices to charge. However, none of them are more important than your child’s continuous glucose monitor (CGM) or insulin pump. Make it a point to label your charging chords, so you know which chords go with which devices and you can quickly see what is charging at any given time.
Take A Photo
Every time you break the seal on a new vial of insulin, refill a prescription, or open a package of test strips or an infusion set, make it a point to snap a photo of the packaging, including things like fill dates, expiration dates, and serial numbers. This way you have a quick-access record should you ever need to refer to it for any reason. For instance, what if your packaging is accidently thrown into the garbage or the label rips? Take a photo and you’re all good.
Young Drivers & Diabetes
Getting that first driver’s license means a new sense of freedom for teenagers. For their parents, it means making sure that all the diabetes gear they need travels with them. Store a prepacked diabetic carrying case in the car that has all the gear your child needs - glucose meter, test strips, glucose tablets, insulin syringes, etc. One Mom we read about even went as far as to create a special canister key chain that contains a meter, strips, and glucose tablets for her child. Pretty brilliant!
Clear Plastic Bags
If you’re a parent whose child has diabetes, clear plastic bags can be a great stress reliever simply because they allow you to see what’s inside. So, in one you might put diabetic friendly snacks or fruit juice to boost blood sugar in low episodes. In another, you can store a glucose meter, test strips, lancets and other diabetic supplies. The key is clarity. During those busy days, you’ll be able to quickly see what you need, grab it and handle the situation - whether it’s a quick snack or an important blood sugar test.
Make Sure Your Child Has a Dedicated Diabetes Pack
It can be as cool and colorful as your kid’s personality, but it’s important to make sure your child has a dedicated diabetes pack to carry diabetes gear to school, camp, friends’ houses and anywhere else your child goes. As a side note, your child’s everyday backpack is not a good diabetes pack as it will also be full of school supplies and all sorts of kid-related surprises. In other words, things can and will get lost in there. Make sure your child’s dedicated diabetes pack has room for everything diabetes related and only things diabetes related, including healthy snacks, juice boxes, pen needles, meters, strips and insulin. It should also be able to accommodate a cold pack to protect medications from warmer temperatures, particularly if your child is spending a lot of time outdoors.
The Kitchen Drawer for Diabetes
One diabetes management hack that’s super easy and effective is to dedicate one of your kitchen drawers exclusively to diabetes health. The only items that should go in your diabetes drawer are the supplies you use most often - glucose meters, test strips, lancets, pen needles, syringes, etc. The kitchen tends to be a high-traffic area in most homes which is why it is the perfect place to create your diabetes hub.
Keep a first-aid kit stocked and handy
Because those living with diabetes are at higher risk of infection, particularly on areas like the feet, it’s important to make sure you have antiseptic ointments, band-aids, alcohol swabs and other standard medical supplies handy and accessible. After all, scrapes and cuts are part of being a kid. As a parent, you want to make sure they stay clean, covered and infection free.
Remember you need care, too!
It’s very easy for parents to get so wrapped up in the demands of caring for their children that they forget self-care is also important. The last thing your child needs is for you to burn out or become overly exhausted. Make sure you take time to recharge yourself, too. Find your “me” time, whether it’s exercise, yoga, reading, music, or any other activity you enjoy. Taking care of yourself goes a long way to staying happy, motivated, and even more engaged in your child’s diabetes management program.
We hope you found these mom and dad diabetic hacks helpful. At Diabetic Warehouse, we’re committed to keeping you informed with the latest news and updates on living with diabetes. We can also save you up to 65% on a complete online selection of diabetic supplies and equipment.
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