Our kids are tech savvy. There’s no way around it. My 2-year-old can open my smart phone and has been able to for about a year. It was so weird to see a little pre-verbal baby swipe his finger across the touch screen and open that thing up! My 5-year-old operates my laptop about as well as I do, and James LOVES all the current technology.
So I guess it shouldn’t be at all surprising to see that the technology aspect of diabetes is the real draw for James right now. Some of the stuff that’s available — new meters, pumps and monitors — are real technological marvels! They have buttons and screens and numbers, and you can scroll and run colorful charts. Naturally, James is interested!
And it has had a lovely side effect. For so long, James has acted uninterested in his diabetes management. It took a little longer than average for him to want to test his own blood sugar, for example. He was perfectly content to let me do it all! In the past two years or so, he’s been warming up to being a part of what is going on in his diabetes regimen, and it’s been a beautiful thing.
James loves his new continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS). He likes to pull it out of his pocket and look at it. We needed to have a little talk about the appropriateness of doing that every five seconds at school, but the fact that he CARES about his blood sugar is a huge step in the right direction for us. Even better, I didn’t have to coerce or even persuade him into becoming interested. He likes the buttons, the numbers, the features! What tech-savvy kid wouldn’t want to walk around attached to a couple of pocket-sized computer-type devices!
Maybe attachment to devices can be viewed by some kids as a nuisance, a constant reminder of diabetes, and a major bummer (and many kids do feel this way, which is okay too). But for us it has had quite the opposite effect. It’s made having diabetes more fun for James, or rather, more fun than it otherwise might be. Technology puts tools into our kids’ hands that allow THEM to assume more responsibility and interest over time. As James’ brain grows and he becomes more mature, he’ll learn more independence with these devices. It’s wonderful that they appeal to him naturally and that he can assume more responsibility on his own terms and in his own timeframe. Bring on the buttons!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.