“This year I have a diabetic child in my class and I don’t really know what to do. I want to make him feel supported but I also don’t want to make a big fuss about the fact that he’s diabetic – he seems to be managing it very well… What do you suggest?” Linda Nkosi.
I think it’s great that you want to lend support to your learner who has diabetes. However, being in charge of children with diabetes can be a challenge unless you know about the condition – it’s a good start for you to get more information on diabetes.
Children with diabetes often feel isolated and alone. Having to test your blood sugar several times a day, keep tabs on what you eat, and give yourself insulin shots or other medicine is enough to make anyone feel self-conscious and different.
If he is willing to do an awareness project with you, it could be very helpful for the whole class. It’s very important to first talk this idea through with him and his parents, though – some people prefer to hide their diabetes and pretend that it doesn’t exist. If you tackle this project in an exciting way, the child will feel involved and the other children in his class will enjoy the topic and then, like children do, just move on to something else. Children are like that. They soon move on, but the message of hypos, testing and shots will be stored in their memory banks.
Remember that this child must always be treated like his classmates. Don’t make exceptions. Always remember, he is a child first. He has diabetes, but that doesn’t give him more or less rights than the child next to him.
Like everyone else, kids with diabetes get along better with a little help from their friends. What a lucky person he is to have a supportive teacher like you!
– Jeannie Berg, Diabetes Educator
Claire Barnardo gives us 14 ways having children in your life makes you happier all round… (even if they’re not your own… And even if it’s not all the time!)
- Be young again
Spending time with kids allows you to relive your youth again: everything you did and didn’t get to do. Playing with toys, reading your favourite children’s books and playing at make-believe are all some of the day-to-day activities with a child.
- Keep fit
Have you spent an afternoon with a two-year-old recently? It’s one quick and sure way to get in shape! They will have you running around in no time.
- Laugh aloud!
Children say the funniest things all the time. They can also be quite profound and real in understanding the world. It’s cute, amusing and special all at once.
- Social butterfly
You get to meet a whole new group of friends through play dates, school, the library, and family time at parks. Being a parent is a unifying experience.
- New view
You can experience the world through new eyes and fall in love with life all over again. There are so many first experiences that you can share with a child. And this time around you get to buy the toys you really want…
- All better
A child can change the worst of adult days into something bright just by saying one sentence, or giving one little hug.
- Get creative
Kids are at their creative height the younger they are, so you can flex your creativity too. Play-doh, paint, dancing, singing, storytelling… The possibilities are endless.
Kids enjoy life in full doses. Whether it’s exploring the garden or baking, building tents or drawing, it’s all one big adventure when you’re around a little one.
Looking after a child gives you a greater sense of direction and purpose in life. You are able to be your best self around them.
They also remind you about what’s really important in life… and it’s not the laundry, or the dishes.
- Deep answers
Children are inquisitive and won’t settle for a simple explanation. They test your general knowledge and understanding constantly, which is a great way to keep your mind active.
Spending time with a child is one sure way to refine your patience and your ability to do things slowly and one at a time.
In our busy world of screens and meetings, it is a great joy to be able to focus on someone as they learn their way in the world.
- Love, love, love
Children really do make your heart grow bigger and more beautiful. They rub off a kind of joy that makes you smile more easily and look forward to things you might have taken for granted.
Kids in need of quality time
If you don’t have your own children, don’t worry: there are plenty who still need you. Why not volunteer at a children’s home, hospital or as a kangaroo carer and give back to a little person?