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It's a Kid Summer
As part of the “keeping it normal”, this post is specifically for parents planning for Summer. It’s here already, well almost. If your kids are like mine, they already mapped out chunks of time filled with their friends and activities. For my girls it’s All-star Cheer, of course, and High School Cheer, and Middle School Cheer, oh and Cheer Camp and the dreaded sleepover parties. I say dreaded because you have to deal with a sleep deprived child/teen the very next day. In the summer however my trick is to pick them up early in the morning, and take them to the beach – they usually hit the towel and crash for a good two hours, replenishing those hours robbed by DVDs, chit chat and sleepover gossip the night before.
Along with this dread, sleepovers normally precipitate parental concern, some uneasiness. What if my child needs me and I’m not there? This is especially true for parents of children who have diabetes. Your basic concern is the safety of your child. The fear, your child has a hypo or hyperglycemic episode and you’re not there. You also question how much you should tell the parents hosting the sleepover. Should I forewarn my child’s friends’ parents, or will I scare them? Maybe you’re thinking of taking your son/daughter to the movies instead. I would suggest not doing the latter. They are not where they want to be and no matter how great the movie is it’s not the same thing and you and they know it. So what do you do? Honestly evaluate your child’s maturity and their ability to identify when their sugars are going up or down. Stress the importance of testing their sugar to confirm how they are feeling; and their ability to act accordingly, and to call you. This does much to reaffirm your confidence in their ability to care for their diabetes themselves; so vitally important in the pre and tween years.
Once your child and you are on the same page regarding expectations, communicate with the host party parents. Share the signs and symptoms of your child having a hypo or hyperglycemic reaction. Explain the symptoms and instruct the parents to call you if she/he notices these symptoms, as well as actions to take. If low, tell her to hand your son/daughter regular soda or juice, and suggest your child tests their sugar. Honestly with all the food and munching going on he or she will probably be a little higher than normal, so alert your child, and emphasize testing his/her sugar.
If you want more confidence before you have you child participate in a sleepover, or you feel your child is still not that independent to be without you for a night then I strongly encourage you to explore the advantages of your child attending the ADA week long camps for children with diabetes. These camps have doctors and nurses right on premises and the counselors, most, or all, are diabetics. They are very well trained, as well as personal diabetes experience. In this month’s ADA’s Diabetic Forecast there is an article entitled, “Camp Rocks”. The article tells of different campers and their positive experiences: making friends, feeling normal like the other campers. One camper gave himself his own insulin shot for the first time. Please log onto diabetes.org/camps for information on these overnight camps. There are more than 60 ADA and related diabetes camps in 33 of our United States. Please log on as soon as possible as the deadlines are usually one month prior to your camp stay.
Discuss the information with your child. You may be surprised to find that you are the one holding him/her back. He/She will have a lot of fun, what camp is all about. Your son or daughter may also learn some new things from other campers , the counselors or the medical staff. You can ease your mind as the medical staff and counselors are ultra cognizant of not only the signs and symptoms but appropriate actions to take, in the case of an emergency. These camps are totally focused on allowing the kids to focus on fun. Camp also incorporates education through peers, counselors and medical staff. Most campers say they end up testing their sugars more, there’s nothing more powerful than positive peer pressure. So give it a shot, keep it normal and explore camp. Whatever you and your child decide, I hope you plan a wonderful, safe and fun adventure. Until next time, be well ☺ Adrienne