We know that being the parent of a T1D is a tough job. Because of that, we also know that seeing your T1D off to college, while encouraging their independence, is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. But CDN is here to help support both of you.
Have you seen your child with diabetes off to college? Are you preparing to? We understand that you want to help your student succeed in their diabetes management and beyond. We’ve seen the positive effect that peer support has had on each and every one of our students.
Stay connected as a CDN PARENT
- Receive the CDN Monthly E-Newsletter Exclusive
- Access to our Parent Update
- E-Tips during specific times of the year (Move-in, midterms, finals, and move-out)
Want to help other T1D college students near you? Learn more about our Parent Ambassador Program.
Become empowered. You may be starting to feel overwhelmed by all of the things that will seem to be out of your control once your child leaves the nest. Instead, try to focus on the things you can control, beginning with helping them get ready to move. Here is a list of actions you can take to feel empowered. This abbreviated list (the full version is available for print here) is meant to help you to help your T1D get ready for college in a way that works for both of you.
Looking at Schools
The idea of choosing a new “home” for your son or daughter for the next four years can seem completely daunting. Take a deep breath. Find our Looking at Schools Guide below in our resources. Make sure to ask questions about each topic yourself, or, even better, encourage your son or daughter to do it. You’ll feel better about the places that they’ll be spending their next few years, knowing that they are their own best advocate.
Prepare for Move-out
At this point in the process, your child has chosen a school and is most likely really excited about a fresh start. You? Not so much. Here are some things that you can do to ease your mind as you both prepare to drop them off at college for the first time.
Prepare a sick day kit
Sick happens – especially in college dorms. Prepare a sick day kit and give it to your T1D before they leave so that you can rest easy when your child catches a cold or the stomach bug, knowing that they have everything you would be providing them if they were home. Your child will appreciate the sentiment – and thank you when they eventually use it. Here are some items that the sick day kit could include.
- Cough Drops
- Pepto Bismal
- Nyquil or other cold medicine
- Hot/cold pack
- Tea bags
- Diet and Regular Soda (Ginger Ale, 7-Up, Sprite, etc.)
- Fruit Juice
- Chicken soup in a microwaveable container
- A favorite movie to watch while they’re stuck inside
Get together a contact list
Ask your child if it would be helpful to them if you gathered all of the necessary emergency contact informaton to put in their Important Diabetes Contact list. Here are some of the contacts that should be included.
- Insurance Company
- Certified Diabetes Educator
- Pharmacy/Mail-order company
- Insulin Pump Company
- Other supply companies
Write a Family Communication Agreement
You want to know that your son or daughter is checking their blood sugar, eating right, taking insulin, etc. We get it - but young adults who are exploring their independence for the first time might not. Have a discussion before they leave about what you feel like you’ll need communication-wise when they’re gone, and what they feel comfortable with. Compromise is key. Use this template as a guide.
Your child most likely wants to be the keeper of their diabetes at this point, and that can be hard for some parents who have been so involved. Talk to your child and find out what you can do to help them at this stage in their lives. Something as small as picking up their prescriptions at the pharmacy and dropping them off can be extremely helpful to your child, and make you feel involved and helpful in their new life.
You’ve moved your child in, said your goodbyes, and made the drive home without them. Congratulations! While it may not seem like it, this is a HUGE accomplishment – for both of you! Of course, for many T1D parents, this is when the most worrying begins. Here are a few tips to keeping sane until they’re home again – it won’t be long!
While you’re probably a little sad that your child is at school, remember that this is an exciting time for them – and you. Join a club. Exercise more. Go Dancing. Worry about your other children. Get involved in something that you may not have had time for before – it will help you focus on things other than worrying about your T1D.
Join an online forum or a local support group
Send your child a care package
- Crystal Light packages
- Colorful pens/pencils
- Favorite candy
- Easy Mac
- Socks with a silly design on them
- hand lotion/sanitizer
- A batch of their favorite baked good
- Old/funny photos to hang in their dorm
- Gift card for groceries or a clothing store