Children with diabetes can find Christmas frustrating, especially when sweet foods are served more often than throughout the rest of the year.

With the Christmas season lasting a number of days, and spreading into New Year’s celebrations, there are times where children will have to avoid certain sugary foods.

There are, however, ways to ensure your child does not feel they are missing out on certain elements of Christmas, as well as still being in control of their diabetes.

Discussing diabetes

You should take time to sit down and inform them that their management may have to be different over Christmas.

Your child may feel self-conscious regarding their diabetes, especially when around larger groups of family or friends, so you should assess how happy your child is discussing their diabetes in front of others.

By doing this, you can work out private ways of managing your child’s diabetes in a way that makes them feel comfortable.

Medicating before meals

If your child works out their own insulin, then be sure to give them as much notice as possible as what food they can expect to medicate for.

The number of courses, carbohydrates and sugar content should be considered before Christmas Day and therefore insulin doses can be adjusted.

Once this has been discussed, try not to alter plans by offering or allowing your child to have more food that hasn’t been accounted for in their insulin doses.

Blood testing

Additional blood testing during the Christmas period will be needed in likelihood, although most children will probably not be enthusiastic to hear this.

Be sure to reassure and encourage your children that additional testing of their blood sugar levels will help them feel better and be in a better position to enjoy their Christmas.

Hypo and hyper symptoms

Maintaining good blood glucose control can be harder over Christmas, with the chances higher of receiving high or low blood sugar level readings.

Be on the lookout for any signs of hypos (low blood sugar) and hypers (high blood sugar) over the Christmas period.

Among the symptoms of being high include feeling tired, and an increase in thirst and urination, while hypo symptoms include feeling sweaty, trembling and finding it hard to concentrate.

Managing mood swings

High and low blood glucose levels can result in mood swings in children due to the uncomfortable feeling of blood sugar changes.

If your child does not understand these mood changes, or cannot express how they feel, you should encourage your child to test their blood sugar levels.

It can help to talk to your child, privately if necessary, to help them understand why they feel this way when their blood sugar levels are either high or low.

Hide any temptation

The variety of foods on offer at Christmas can be very tempting, and not just for children, but these can also impact blood glucose levels.

One way of ensuring your child isn’t surrounded by temptation is by keeping food out of sight between meals. This can help to relieve the temptation and make Christmas easier to deal with for your child.

It can be worthwhile putting away foods not in use or to cover them, as well as making sure your child does not think they are getting any less food than others.

Don’t let them feel left out

It can be quite natural for children with diabetes to feel they are missing out on certain foods, especially if they have siblings that eat more.

An option to prevent this is to provide some treats that are not so sweet and friendlier for blood sugar levels. This can actually serve to make your child feel more special, especially if the treats are marketed in an appetising way.