Diabetes: Getting Comfortable With a New Babysitter
At some point in your child’s life, you’ll probably need a babysitter. Maybe you need a sitter to cover for you so you can go to work. Or maybe something comes up unexpectedly, and you need to run out on short notice. Or maybe you just need to get out for a few hours with your partner or a friend. Whatever the reason, it’s a good idea to plan ahead, especially when your child has diabetes.
If you haven’t used a babysitter since your child was diagnosed with diabetes, you might have some questions about what to do. Here’s how to be prepared:
- Find the right babysitter. When your babysitter is confident about caring for a child with diabetes, you’ll feel confident too. If possible, try to find a babysitter before you need one. Relatives or neighbors you trust are often great babysitters. When you have found and prepared a sitter, you’ll be ready in case you need coverage on short notice.
- Prepare your child. Kids feel more in control when they know what to expect.
- Write instructions. Jot down notes about giving medicines and feeding your child. When you’re organized, you’ll find it easier to head out.
- Gather your child’s supplies. Collect your child’s medicines and equipment in one place, so you can review them with your sitter.
Preparing Your Child
When you tell your child about your plans for having a babysitter, they might feel excited, nervous, or a little of both. It’s a good idea to prepare your child and involve them in getting ready. Try this:
- Tell your child what to expect. Let them know who the sitter is. Explain why the sitter is coming and how long they’ll be in charge. Reassure your child the sitter knows how to handle their diabetes care and will take good care of them. If there’s time for your child and the sitter to meet ahead of time, try to schedule it.
- Involve your child. Give your child age-appropriate jobs to get ready for the sitter. For example, younger kids can help you gather diabetes supplies and their favorite games or toys. Older kids can write instructions about their medicines, meals, and snacks. The more you involve your child, the more empowered they’ll feel.
- Answer any questions. Encourage your child to ask questions. You can help put their mind at ease when you give honest answers.
Preparing Supplies and Instructions
Your diabetes care team may have advice about preparing for a new sitter, especially if the sitter hasn’t cared for a child with diabetes.
Gather the supplies you’ll need to review with the babysitter:
- blood glucose meter and test strips
- insulin needles and syringes
- quick fixes for low blood sugars (glucose tablets or gel, juice, glucagon)
- healthy snacks (like fruit or crackers)
Meeting With Your Babysitter
Try to meet with your babysitter to go over your child’s diabetes care a day or so ahead of time. But meeting ahead of time is not always an option. So when you meet with your babysitter, find out what they already know about diabetes. If they are new to diabetes, you’ll need to teach them.
Review the basics, like how to:
- Check your child’s blood sugar.
- Give insulin.
- Feed the right kind of snacks and meals at the right time.
- Watch for any signs that blood sugar is too high or too low.
- Handle an emergency, like high blood sugar or low blood sugar.
- Contact you.
If there’s something the sitter doesn’t know, walk them through it. Encourage them to ask questions.
Leaving your child with a babysitter for the first time after your child has been diagnosed with diabetes can be a big step for everyone. When you make a plan and have confidence in your babysitter, you and your child will have peace of mind. The goal is that your child and the sitter have fun — and you can feel confident that others can help out with your child’s diabetes care too.