Enjoying parties and holidays is a wonderful part of being a kid. A child with type 1 diabetes should enjoy them just the same. As with many things concerning type 1 diabetes, proper planning is key to ensuring these are good experiences for both the child and parent.
Before attending parties or holiday celebrations, here are some things to consider:
- Contact the host – If you’ll be attending a party, contact the host ahead of time to let them know your child has type 1 diabetes. They may have questions about what they can eat and it would be easier to handle that before the party than during. Also, this will allow the host to make accommodations such as providing sugar-free drinks for your child.
- Come prepared with carbohydrate counts – If you know what is being served, you can be ready with carbohydrate counts. Whether it’s pizza and cake for birthday parties or your mom’s favorite casserole served at Thanksgiving, figuring the carbohydrate counts ahead of time, can take the stress out of having to figure them out in the moment. For Halloween, the Children with Diabetes website has a great list of carbohydrate counts for popular candy. Researching this list with your child can also be a great eye-opening teaching opportunity.
- Communicate ahead of time about appropriate amounts to eat – Have a conversation with your child before a birthday party about how much pizza and cake to have at the birthday party or Halloween candy to consume while they are trick-or-treating.
- Be weary of grazing – During festive occasions, it can be easy to lose track of what we’re eating. Talk to your child about making sure they are still giving insulin for everything they are eating and to be careful about grazing or overeating during this time.
Unfortunately, diabetes doesn’t take a break for special occasions or holidays so we still have to the appropriate steps to manage it. Proper planning can greatly reduce the stress of making these great experiences for all.