Attending sleep-away camps and sleepovers can be formative experiences for children. Yet the parents of a child with type 1 diabetes may have special concerns about their child’s well-being while away from home. If you have a child with type 1 diabetes, advice for sending your child to camp or a sleepover is now as close as a computer, tablet or smart phone.
Through a unique collaboration between Lilly Diabetes and Disney, resources for families just like yours are available on www.Spoonful.com/type1. These resources combine the expertise of Lilly Diabetes with the magic of Disney, and include information to help your child experience the joys of camps and sleepovers.
“Many parents of a child with type 1 diabetes are eager for their child to experience the fun of sleeping away, but have concerns about managing their child’s condition away from home. So it’s important that parents prepare their children before they embark on a sleep-away adventure,” says Beverly S. Adler, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and certified diabetes educator in Baldwin, N.Y.
Tips to Help You Prepare
On the website, you’ll find detailed articles with helpful tips, such as:
Sleep-away Camp Tips
Take the time to talk to the camp staff about diabetes care before your child’s arrival. Ask questions about the staffers’ experiences with children with type 1 diabetes.
• Pack appropriately: Be sure to include double the amount of medical supplies your child will need.
• Arm your child with a logbook to record blood sugar, insulin and grams of carbohydrates consumed each day.
• Talk to the host parents to be sure you're able to keep in touch throughout the night, both with your child and the hosts.
• Prior to a sleepover, familiarize your child with some of the foods he or she is likely to encounter—such as chips, candy and pizza—so your child can get an idea of carbohydrate counts and insulin dose-responses.
• Consider using technology, such as texting or e-mailing, so your child can communicate their blood sugar numbers to you.
Books, Books and More Books!
Lilly Diabetes and Disney have also developed three new books for children with type 1 diabetes who are sleeping away from home for the first time.
Whether your child is a tween girl, a tween boy or still a young child, there’s a book in the series you may find helpful. “Superstar Dreams” is for tween girls and addresses the experience of sleepovers. “Covering the Bases” is for tween boys and focuses on attending a sports-related sleep-away camp. “Coco's First Sleepover” was written for young children and features the Disney character Coco, a fun-loving monkey who has type 1 diabetes. Learn more about the books on the website, or ask your child’s pediatric endocrinologist for free copies!
For more information about the resources provided by Lilly Diabetes and Disney to help children with type 1 diabetes and their families prepare for and enjoy the sleep-away experience, visit www.Spoonful.com/type1. The tips from this website are not intended to be medical advice, and families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes.