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7 min. read

Talking to your Child about Type 1 Diabetes

Our Children with Diabetes series offers type 1 diabetes (T1D) guidance and support, including bite-size educational material, to both parents and children. This article focuses on communicating with your child post-diagnosis.

Table of contents

Dealing with the Diagnosis

After your child is diagnosed with T1D, it’s like someone hit the refresh button on parenting. Most parents with T1D children feel like they’ve gone back to step one of having a newborn, helpless and lost in a routine that you've yet to figure out—thrown right back into the deep end with little or no warning.

Then comes the anxiety and stress of being solely responsible for the health and wellbeing of your child while not being a T1D specialist. We’re here to help alleviate that burden. Once you’ve wrapped your head around the condition (check out our About Diabetes page), it’s time to get your child on board. 

Top Tip!


Still struggling to understand T1D? Continue your reading here.

Why should you educate your child on type 1 diabetes?

Taking care of a child with diabetes requires a team effort; it starts at home with you as a parent and expands to their teachers, doctors, friends, and everyone else in between. Educating your child on their diabetes diagnosis can help:

  • Spread knowledge to other caregiver
  • Build a sense of competenc
  • Gain a sense of contros
  • Offer independenc
  • Allow them to continue their social life
  • Keep them safe

Allowing your child to understand their diabetes diagnosis and actively participate in treatment (age-dependant) can keep them safer in the long run. 

Top Tip!


You’ll need to notify your child’s ‘caregivers’ about their diagnosis. Write a list of everyone they are usually alone with (football coach/ friend’s parent/ teachers).

When is the right age to explain diabetes to a child?

Is your child asking questions about their diagnosis? It’s time to educate them!

It’s never too early to involve your children in their diagnosis. Your focus should be on selecting age-appropriate involvement and aim to make their daily treatment routine as normal as brushing their teeth. Remember, “Every family is different, and some kids will want to do more, and other kids don’t want to think about it.” 

Top Tip!


Take into account your child's emotional capacity when deciding how much T1D detail to share with them.

Encourage open discussion

Children who’ve been diagnosed with diabetes will likely initially feel scared, upset, and angered. It’s important to let them know they’ve done nothing wrong to cause this, and neither have you! It’s also time to assure them they’re not alone (in 2021, over 1 .2 million children and adolescents have type 1 diabetes1).

Be Honest: There's a delicate balance between overwhelming your child with knowledge and hiding things from them. Try to be truthful and share information with them in small doses (no pun intended). Your child should know that T1D can't be cured, but it can be managed, and they'll continue to live a happy and fulfilling life.

Be Positive: Children are sponges! Your child will observe how you react to the T1D diagnosis and manage it moving forward. Then they’ll mirror you. Try to use positive vocabulary and stay calm in a stressful scenario
 (if you panic over an alarming glucose reading, your child will panic too).

Be Informed: The more you know about T1D, the safer your child will be. Approach this as a fun learning experience to be enjoyed alongside your child. Over time, you’ll both become experts in the subject matter and go on to share your wisdom!

Be Reassuring: Sweets don't have to go in the bin; it's not all doom and gloom! Reassure your child that living with T1D doesn't mean they have to give up the sweeter things in life completely. Explain that together you can manage their condition by monitoring blood sugar levels, and they can continue to live a happy life (with a couple of new rules here and there). 

What's Next?


Set aside 10-minutes today to sit down with your child and ask if they have any questions about their diagnosis. Don’t have the answer to their question? Come back and work through our educational resources below. Don’t forget to check out our T1D tips and tricks on social media!


  1. IDF Atlas 10th Edition, 2021. Available from: https:// diabetesatlas.org/idfawp/resource-files/2021/07/ IDF_Atlas_10th_Edition_2021.pdf. Last accessed: January 2024. 

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