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Teaching Children How To Manage Long Term Health Conditions

MySelfCare lets you feel as close to your loved ones as possible, by sending automatic health alerts every time you take a reading, because we understand that – as much as you’d like to – you can’t be by your child’s side 24/7. This is exactly why it is important to teach children with long-term health conditions how to manage their health independently. While helping them manage responsibilities and become more mature, this will also give you peace of mind, knowing that your child is fully familiar with their unique health needs and requirements.

Asthma and diabetes are two of the most common long-term health conditions in children. Slowly teaching your child how to care for themselves can make living with asthma or diabetes far easier for both you and your child. If your child knows how to manage their health effectively, they will feel more confident and in control and this, in turn is sure to put your mind at rest.

Here are MySelfCare’s top tips on teaching children to manage these common health conditions:

Asthma

One in every eleven children in the UK suffer from asthma. Though some grow out of the condition, the UK has one of the highest rates of childhood asthma worldwide. Helping introduce a healthy routine at an early age will familiarise your child with their condition, giving them a full understanding of the importance of managing the COPD condition.

Though young children will still need managing asthma effectively, you can still introduce them to some small but important responsibilities:

  • Invite them to help you wash their spacer. Show them how to do this and after a few times, they may be able to manage by themselves.
  • You should ensure you always know where your child’s inhaler is, but also teach your child to put it somewhere safe when at home, school or on trips.

As they get older, children should practise:

  • Using their prevention inhaler every day (as often as prescribed).
  • Talking to their friends about their condition. This will help their peers understand the condition and support your child’s needs.
  • Recognising their triggers. It can be very difficult for children to not stroke fluffy animals, run around in the playground or roll in the summer grass. Asthma doesn’t mean they have to miss out on these things, so long as they are prepared to limit these activities and take their inhaler afterwards.
  • Speaking up in asthma reviews – these bi-yearly catch ups with your child’s doctor or asthma nurse are useful for everyone involved. Get your child used to discussing their health with doctors, as well as building their confidence, this will help them further their understanding of asthma.

Diabetes

Here in the UK, we have the fifth highest rate of childhood Type 1 diabetes diagnosis worldwide.  We recently published Tips For Managing Your Child’s Diabetes, for parents of children with newly-diagnosed diabetes. Like with any long-term health condition, children will need help and support when learning to manage diabetes. food, exercise, stress, general health, etc. — that keeping blood sugar levels in the desired range is a constant balancing act. No one likes injections, but there are steps that parents and children can take together in order to let children take control of their health:

  • Explain to your child what diabetes is, and what it means for them – in their language! We love this children’s guide to Type 1 diabetes from Diabetes UK:

  • Managing diabetes can be challenging, as there are multiple things to bear in mind that could affect your blood sugar levels. While you should stay aware of these, it’s important to introduce your child of the precautions they need to associate with exercising, eating, travelling, etc.
  • Begin by rewarding your child after each reading and/or insulin administration – sticker charts work really well! When they are a little older, this is something they can be in charge of.
  • Encourage healthy eating and, as your child gets older, teach them about how what they eat can affect their blood glucose levels and how their body functions.
  • When they are old enough, teach them how to use their glucometer unassisted. Our Headphone Jack Glucometer is perfect for children on-the-go and teenagers that can never be too far from their phone!

 

There is no ‘one size fits all’ for children learning to live with long term health conditions, but there is one thing that we recommend regardless of the child, condition and age of diagnosis – be positive! Managing asthma, diabetes and other long term conditions can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be limiting.

Don’t feel alone if you still have reservations about giving your child more independence when managing their health conditions – it’s perfectly normal. MySelfCare allows you to monitor your child’s health readings in real time, so you can give your child the independence and control they will need as they grow older, while remaining aware and reassured that they are healthy and happy.

Browse our store for more information on our home healthcare devices. Monitor. Share. Care.