Another great school year is coming to an end. We often throw class parties and give gifts to the teachers, but we tend to overlook many of those other people who have helped make our school year so successful.
For Kaitlyn, the one person who has made going to school every day even a possibility is our wonderful school nurse! She has been so kind to Kaitlyn, and she’s always spot-on with how to take care of her. We even call her Kaitlyn’s Fairy Godmother sometimes. She’s truly a gem!
Looking back on the last couple of years that Kaitlyn has been at public school, I’ve thought about what has made it such a positive experience. Handing Kaitlyn over to the school for six hours every day was not an easy thing to do at first. I was nervous to say the least. But as time went by and we got used to the idea, it became something I didn’t ever worry about. I trust her teacher, nurses and staff with her care as much as I trust my own immediate family now. We truly have a great working relationship with all these people who look after Kaitlyn on a daily basis.
I hope you have as positive an experience as I have had. Here are a few ideas to set you up for a successful year:
1. Be firm and up front about what you need from the school while your child is there. But — if you can — don’t be pushy! Try to start your relationship in a positive way. Listen to their ideas and be willing to collaborate to figure out the best way to take care of your child. You want them to enjoy working with your child and with you as a parent.
2. Communicate often and early. Our nurse makes a special trip to and from the school at least two to three times every day. If Kaitlyn is sick or for some other reason not coming to school that day, I let our nurse and district nurse know as soon as I can, so they can plan accordingly. We also communicate about class parties, field trips or any other special events that might be happening at school and about any high or low blood sugar numbers. Texting is a quick way to communicate, and it happens to work really well for us.
3. Show appreciation often. Everyone wants to feel like the work they do is valued and appreciated. Kind notes of thanks or little gifts can go a long way with building a great working relationship. We try to show thanks to the nurses and office staff as often as we can, and you guessed it — they are equally if not more eager to be kind and caring in return. Kaitlyn is pretty much a celebrity in the office, and although it’s probably mostly due to the fact that she is so darn cute, I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that my husband and I are always trying to show our gratitude and support.
I realize that sometimes, even after you’ve done everything you can, there can still be many challenges involved with caring for type 1 at school. But, hopefully, with a little bit of luck and a little bit of work, your experiences can be as good as ours!
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.