Two weeks ago, my in-laws visited for the weekend. It was a fun weekend full of activities, good food, and lots of giggles from my kids who absolutely love anytime they can get with their grandparents. But between those giggles were a lot of questions from my 4 year-old and 7 year-old, asking about the medicine Grandma and Grandpa had to take with each meal (both of them are insulin dependent Type-2 diabetics).
It can be difficult to explain diabetes to young children because they tend to focus on what’s wrong, not on how much we have in common. What seemed to help my kids, as they desperately wanted to know what was going on with Grandma and Grandpa, was a simple explanation about how they need help (insulin) for their body to use energy (food). Oversimplified, yes. Did it do the job? I think so.
With obesity still on the rise, more children, and therefore, more of their friends, are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. As a result, for the first time as a family, we are observing American Diabetes Month and International Diabetes Day. It gives us the opportunity to talk openly about diabetes, what it means for their friends and family, and how they might be able to help. It’s also a really great opportunity to explain that we have more in common than not with those with diabetes. We all need to focus on how we can eat better, move more, and in general, take better care of our bodies.
Tomorrow, while we’re enjoying our Saturday (which also happens to be International Diabetes Day), we’re going to build and then participate in a mini backyard Olympics and cook a healthy family dinner together. Yes, these are everyday healthy activities, but that’s what this day and month is all about. We need to help our children better understand that a healthy lifestyle, where they move more and eat better, can be the fun and easy choice. When it becomes a regular part of their lifestyle, their chance of developing Type 2 diabetes is decreased.
We’ll also talk more about Grandma and Grandpa, and how we might be able to help them as they try to be their healthiest while they are taking medicine (insulin) to keep them healthy. We’ll discuss how similar they are to us and how some of the things we like to do may be good activities to do with Grandma and Grandpa next time we see them.
I hope you take a few minutes out of your day tomorrow to help your family move more and eat better. Congratulations, you’re raising diabetes awareness and officially participating in International Diabetes Day and American Diabetes Month.
You can also get helpful diabetes awareness resources for kids from The OrganWise Guys!
Today we feature OWG guest blogger and childhood obesity consultant, Melodie Griffin. Melodie’s passion lies in the prevention of childhood obesity through the school and early learning settings. All programs Melodie promotes are fully approved by her home based lab rats, five year old son, Howie, and two year old daughter, Hope. You can connect with Melodie on her Facebook page, WellConnect LLC.