What you need to do to make sure everyone is prepared
Sending a child who has diabetes back to school doesn’t have to be stressful for parent or child. With the right plan and tools in place, children can manage their diabetes and their homework, too. Plus, the adults around them will know what they need to do.
Before the first day of school, make sure your child has a Diabetes Medical Management Plan. You’ll want to work with your child’s doctor on this plan, so remember to schedule an appointment or discuss it during your child’s regular checkup. The management plan provides important information, including:
- a daily treatment plan
- action plans for emergency situations
- emergency contact information for parents and health care providers
- target blood glucose levels and when they should be checked
- signs to watch for that indicate blood sugar might be too low or too high
When you go over the plan with school staff, go over it with your child, too. (Keep a copy in his or her backpack.) Walk through different situations with your child, such as feeling weak or dizzy from low blood sugar, and ask him or her how to handle those situations. Keep the tone light, and try not to make it feel like a quiz.
If your child uses equipment like a pump or gives self-injections, practice at home. Children should feel confident about providing their own treatment at school. Make sure your child understands what he or she should do in an emergency.
Children aren’t shy about asking questions, which means classmates will likely ask your child about having diabetes. Planning answers to the likely questions can help your child feel more comfortable and more prepared.
Give a copy of your child’s Diabetes Medical Management Plan to the school nurse, your child’s teachers, and any other caregivers or school staff who work with your child.
NOTE: You can find a free sample Diabetes Medical Management Program at the American Diabetes Association website. Go to diabetes.org and search for “DMMP.”
Have a “low box” ready
A “low box” is a go-to kit to help your child in case of low blood sugar levels. Put snacks, juice, and glucose tabs or gels in a low box and leave it with either the school nurse or your child’s teachers, wherever it’s most handy for your child to reach in the moment.