Checking Your Child’s Blood Sugar
As the parent and/or caregiver of a young child, the last thing you want to do is to stick him or her with a needle or lancet. But, as the parent and/or caregiver of a child with type 1 diabetes, you know that it’s necessary and must be done multiple times a day.
The first thing you need to do is deal with your own feelings. Doing finger sticks and injections on your child may feel like a terrible thing to do. But you know that it’s necessary. So trying to have a matter-of-fact attitude about blood sugar checks and insulin shots is a good idea. They are just givens. No exceptions. And you know that you aren’t really doing your child a favor if you skip a shot or blood sugar check, even if they plead with you to do so.
Even if it takes you a while to come to terms with your child’s diabetes, it’s important to project a positive attitude and not to show your concerns on your face. Remember, your child is looking to you for guidance. Your attitude will have a direct impact on his or her self-esteem and feelings about this new way of life. If you can take your child’s diabetes in stride, it may be easier for him or her to accept it. If you come across as nervous or afraid, your child will pick up on it and may feel the same way.
Diabetes care habits need to become just another part of the daily routine. As soon as your child sees that these tasks are not negotiable, he or she will be more likely to cooperate.
Tips on blood sugar checks for young children
Finger pricks just aren’t fun! There’s no way around it. But there are ways to make young children feel more comfortable and at ease with the process.
- Be prepared. If there’s anything that needs to be set up in advance (eg, make sure that the meter is charged and ready, insert a new lancet in the lancing device), it’s a good idea to do it in another room out of sight of the child. Only involve him or her when everything is ready. This may help to shorten the period of time when your child may be anxious or upset
- Use a fresh lancet. Lancets are only sterile the first time they are used and can become dull after repeated use, which can make finger sticks more painful. So always use a new one
- Don’t go too deep! You will want to use the shallowest poke possible to draw blood. This will hurt less and cause less scarring too
- Try distraction. If the child is upset by the finger pricks it may help to get him or her interested in something else. You could sing a song together, have them hold a favorite stuffed animal or toy, or watch a DVD while the finger stick is taking place
- Avoid getting angry. It can be very frustrating to deal with a child who is refusing or resisting finger pricks. It’s not exactly fun for you either! But taking a deep breath, controlling your feelings, and providing reassurance are all ways you can help keep this process as positive as possible
- Get it done quickly! Making the process as fast as possible may make it easier for both of you. So try not to make it last longer than it has to and don’t forget to give your child a big hug once it’s done. Then, move on with your day