Adjusting to diabetes naturally takes time and dealing with it is a daily challenge. Here are some strategies that can help you and your child cope with diabetes.
The more your child is able to participate in their own diabetes care (at an age-appropriate level), the healthier and more confident they will be. Emphasize that they are captain of their diabetes team. Of course, each child will cope in different ways with their diabetes and they will also participate in their diabetes care at different levels.
Whether it is help with an errand, transportation of another child, or you just need to take a nap – it is important to have some time to recharge your batteries. Friends and family are often eager to help out during the early weeks and months. Identify your needs and simplify your life, let diabetes integrates into your daily routine and make it a “natural” course of thing.
It is a good idea to encourage younger children to express themselves and their experiences through painting or drawing. Older children may find that taking positive action – raising money or helping others – will help them overcome feelings that they are powerless.
Encourage your child to “be a kid first, and a kid with diabetes second.” You need to manage the pressure to make each and every day “perfect” in terms of diabetes management. Some days will go well and others won’t. Try to accept this and keep your eye on the bigger picture: Is my child adjusting to this new life? Is she starting to accept some of her daily care needs? Is she comfortable about sharing her diagnosis with her “inner circle?”
In short, the whole family has to adapt to the demands of diabetes. When the whole family is knowledgeable about your child’s condition, it is much easier to make changes and face daily challenges.
No matter how well you cope, diabetes can bring a lot of additional stress. Try some of these ways to reduce stress.
- Exercise – it elevates your state of mind and helps tense muscles to relax
- Writing – just putting your feelings down on paper can make your problems more bearable (and don’t worry about spelling or grammar – this is just for you)
- Relaxation exercises – try some yoga, deep breathing, or tensing and relaxing one muscle at a time
- Distractions – have an evening out, rent a movie, or get lost in a good book
- Massage – it’s a great way to relax
- Meditation or prayer – take care of your spiritual side