Finding a Babysitter
From the time a child in your care is diagnosed with diabetes, you are always on duty. That’s why letting go and passing on that responsibility for a night out with your spouse or friends can feel like a nearly impossible task. Where will you find someone capable of watching your child and their diabetes symptoms? The truth is, you might be surprised to find more choices than you expected if you know where to look.
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Family: If you have family close by who are familiar with your child’s care, start there. This could be a grandparent, an aunt, a cousin, or any other responsible relative. You may need to teach them about your child’s routine and the basics of their care, but that’s okay. This education can start well in advance of your time away.
Other Parents of Children with Diabetes. Parents from a support group or your community may be able to point you to a babysitter they have used, or you may be able to swap childcare with other parents of children with diabetes. One week you watch their child, and the next week they watch yours.
Siblings of other Kids with Diabetes. Teens or college kids with a brother or sister with diabetes, or who have it themselves, are a great resource as long as they are familiar with the care and routine. Again, this is a conversation you should have before your evening out. These sitters may even know how to operate an insulin pump – some pumps are so easy to use they are approved for use in children down to age 6.
Online Sources: There are plenty of babysitting sites out there today that provide help locating childcare, but you need to be selective.. The site Safesittings is designed to help parents of children with diabetes find trained, educated sitters. If you decide to research other care websites, be sure to check for prospective sitter’s diabetes-specific experience.
Diabetes Camp Counselors: If you are fortunate enough to have a diabetes camp nearby, you may be able to tap into this valuable resource. Camp counselors may be a great babysitting resource when camp isn’t in session. Because many of the counselors have diabetes themselves and have worked with so many children, they are often experienced with the different insulin needs of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, administering injections, and identifying symptoms of high or low blood sugar.
Other tips for Your Night Out
Remember, your night out is supposed to be enjoyable and not stressful. If you need to call home, make it short and sweet or send a text and get back to your evening. Here are some ways you can put your mind at ease before the evening starts:
- Make a short and concise instruction sheet with emergency phone numbers (list more than one contact or multiple ways your sitter can reach you or another responsible adult)
- Make sure they know the symptoms of low blood sugar and how to treat it
- Train your sitter on the use of a glucagon pen and when to use it
You really can enjoy a night out without worrying about your child’s diabetes. Take the time to find the right sitter—which may mean meeting and interviewing several until you find someone that is a good fit for your family.