Type 1 diabetes is a condition that affects the entire family, including siblings. They may have their own questions and reactions to this life-changing event. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you pay special attention to what they may be going through.
- Share age-appropriate information about diabetes – The key here is to keep your explanation simple. Share enough information that your child has a sense of what diabetes is and the things that need to be done to keep their sibling healthy.
- Let them express their feelings and fears – It’s natural for children to be worried about their sibling. Other children may feel a sense of guilt that this has happened to their sibling and not to them. Some may also worry they’ll get diabetes too. Ask them if they have any questions about what is happening and encourage them to share their feelings.
- Explain how family members can support the child with diabetes – Let them know that there are ways they can support their sibling such as eating healthy and having an active lifestyle. Be careful about giving them too much responsibility though in daily care. Allow them to just be their sibling and not their caregiver.
- Create diabetes-free zones – Balance how much you talk about diabetes during mealtimes, vacations, etc. Even though we are very aware of diabetes during meal times, find other topics of conversation to discuss so mealtimes do not become diabetes-discussion times for the whole family.
- Set aside specific time for children without diabetes – As a caregiver, you will be giving extra attention and time to the child with diabetes, so plan special time for your children who do not have diabetes. Find out what their unique interests and abilities and foster an individual relationship with that child.
This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.