Article written by Jessica Plunkett
December 12th, 2007
Hiring a babysitter is not a problem for most parents, but for parents of kids who have diabetes, it is very challenging. Babysitting such a child is a huge undertaking, and it takes a lot of experience.
At the age of thirteen, I started babysitting for children with diabetes whose parents needed some well-deserved time off. In the process, I have learned a great deal about making the experience go smoothly.
I gained my first experience by caring for my little brother, Danny, who was diagnosed with diabetes when he was seven years old and I was ten. I went to all the initial training meetings at the hospital because I wanted to help, and I have played a growing role in taking care of him ever since. Eventually, I learned to babysit Danny alone when my parents needed to go out for a night.
Parents of a child with diabetes can think about leaving him with a responsible babysitter once he (or a sibling) can give himself shots and test his own blood sugar. But the babysitter will still need both verbal and written guidance from the parents. By following the tips that I have listed below, parents can make it much easier for their babysitter to do a good job.
Create a timeline.
Type up an information sheet.
Babysitting can be a lot of fun for both the sitter and the child, and it can give exhausted parents some needed time off. If the parents create a careful plan and prepare the babysitter well, diabetes need not get in the way of a good time for both parents and children.
Jessica Plunkett was recently featured with her family in the book The Challenge of Childhood Diabetes: Family Strategies for Raising a Healthy Child, available at www.challengeofdiabetes.com.