August is back-to-school month for many kids, but children with diabetes have more to worry about than buying a new lunch box, or getting new school supplies.

A recent report released by the American Diabetes Association Safe at School Working Group suggests that parents who help organize and prepare for the start of school can significantly influence their child’s success when it comes to diabetes management.

There are more than 208,000 children under the age of 20 living with diabetes in the United States. The American Diabetes Association is raising awareness through its Safe at School campaign to emphasize the importance of ensuring all children are able to have access to proper diabetes care during the school day. The Association & the Safe at School campaign are committed to achieving effective school-based diabetes management for all children living with diabetes.

Parents can prepare in many ways for the start of school by focusing on one or all of the options listed below:

Reach out to teachers & administrators before the school year begins to update your child’s diabetes plan & inquire about supplies.
Meet personally with the school nurse or other staff responsible for providing care.
Encourage your child by talking about healthy choices while at school and during extra-curricular activities.
Shopping for healthy foods may be tricky, and sometimes costly, but the benefits will last for a lifetime.

Talking with a nutritionist is a great resource for planning a diabetic friendly diet. Nutrition education programs are a great way to get your child involved with choice making and knowing what they can and cannot have, what will make their sugars spike and what will help them maintain a consistent “number” throughout the whole day, so they can minimize the highs and lows that most diabetics experience.

Always be prepared, always talk with your child about diabetes and you will have success!