From Newark, Ohio, USA:
I am a case worker in a foster care agency and I have two children, both aged four, on my caseload who are both type 1 diabetics. Both were diagnosed around the age of two. Over the past several months, both of these children (who live in different homes) have been sneaking food (mainly candy or other junk food) from anywhere they can get it (daycare, church, etc.). The foster parents and I have tried numerous ways of explaining to them why this is dangerous and so far have not gotten anywhere as they continue to sneak things. We have explained that, in moderation, they can have sweets. I guess I'm just looking for any suggestions that may have worked for other parents and young children.
It is normal to worry about what a child eats. However, when food intake is monitored very closely, children inadvertently pick up the message that some foods are frowned upon, and then they become the desired foods. The goals for all children, whether they have diabetes or not, is healthy eating. That means that foods that are not desirable from an adult perspective should not be in the home, so there's no temptation to eat them. Kids will certainly eat things outside of the home that parents would rather they do not do. The key is to work together so that the children inform the adults when they are eating foods outside of the home. Again, this has nothing to do with diabetes. When diabetes is in the mix, we need to add the skills of excellent carbohydrate counting, and understanding how and when to bolus insulin based on the carbohydrates consumed. I encourage both families to seek the help of a pediatric diabetes team that has a nutritionist who can teach families how to manage foods for preschoolers. Focusing on foods that are not desired can increase the chances of sneaking, a sense of shame, and worse health outcomes.
Original posting 22 Jul 2009
Posted to Behavior
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:10:18
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