Kim: Afternoon Snack: a Learning Opportunity

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Kaitlyn continues to learn about diabetes so quickly. She is on her way to becoming more and more independent. It kind of scares me. She has checking her blood sugar down pat. When I tell her how much insulin to take, she's good at pressing the buttons on her pump to give herself a correction or to dose for a meal. She knows how to read nutrition labels to find the carb count for a particular food. I love that she wants to learn and that she seems so capable. Sometimes I worry though that she's becoming too independent for her own good. Every now and then she'll ask if she can have a snack, and before I know it, she's checked her blood sugar, figured out the carbs and given insulin before I can even check to make sure it's all right. I have to go back and look on the glucometer's history to make sure she hasn't made any major mistakes.

So far, she has done really well and hasn't made any big errors, but I know it can happen. My friend's daughter also has diabetes, and she does a lot of her own diabetes maintenance. This little girl is a couple of years older than Kaitlyn and has a bit more practice with it, but she still makes mistakes. My friend told me that the other day, her daughter went to an after-school church activity where they were making a craft and eating some snacks. She was surprised when her daughter said that she ate a popcorn ball and gave herself insulin for it without calling her mom. "Don't worry, Mom," she said. "I dosed myself for 50 carbs." Yikes! That would have to be an enormous popcorn ball to have 50 carb grams! Luckily, they kept good tabs on her numbers for the rest of the day and were able to avoid any trouble.

I think Kaitlyn has a sense of how important it is to be really careful with diabetes maintenance, but she is still very young and mistakes happen! That's why we've decided that our afternoon snack time will be our diabetes training time. It works out perfectly, because for the several hours following our afternoon snack, Kaitlyn is home with me most of the time. She doesn't have to be at school, and it's not in the middle of the night either. If a mistake is going to happen, it's better that it happen when I can have a constant watchful eye. Each day after school, I'm going to let Kaitlyn try to do her checking, counting and dosing on her own. I'll still be right there to make sure she's giving herself the right amount before she presses "Go," but it will largely be her opportunity to take more control of her diabetes.  


About the author: My name is Kim. My daughter Kaitlyn (the third of our five children) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just a few years after my nephew James was diagnosed with the same disease. I'm excited to pair up with my sister-in-law, Jen, to share our story with you!

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

Related topics:
Jen: Making School Lunch Easy for Everyone
Jen: Our Afternoon Snack Strategy
People in the Know: Easy Alternatives to Packaged Snacks

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