Resources for Parents

Parties, special events, and your child’s type 1 diabetes

April 03, 2023

A group of young children at birthday party

There’s no doubt that parties and special occasions can be a stressful experience for T1D parents, especially with younger children or those who have been recently diagnosed. Tables of party food and lots of excitement and activity can be a tricky combination when it comes to keeping blood glucose levels (BGLs) in range.

But it’s really important that kids get to experience going to parties, as they get to work on their social skills in different settings, strengthen friendship bonds and create new memories with their pals. Don’t let T1D get in the way of these milestone events! It can take a little extra organising and preparation, but T1D can come along for the ride so your child has a great time.

Here are our top tips for managing T1D around parties, celebrations and other special events, when usual routine is thrown out the window in order to have a lot of fun with friends or family.

Forget perfection

First of all, remember that it’s impossible to be perfect all the time. Keeping BGLs in range is even trickier than normal when your child is in party mode. Accept that you probably won’t be able to keep them perfectly in range on the day of the party. Just do your best and adjust as the day progresses.

Say yes to lolly bags

Don’t let your child miss out on a lolly bag! Let them enjoy a treat or two and keep the rest for hypo treatments. Participating in party rituals is an important aspect of a child’s social development.

Plan ahead

Contact the party organiser and try to get an idea of what the party structure will be and what food will be served. If it’s a family event you might suggest a few tweaks to make the T1D experience smoother, like including some low-carb or carb-free foods, including some activity after eating, and saving lolly bags to the end of the party.

Bring a plate

If there’s a party food your child likes, and you know the carb count already, you could take a plate of food along to share.

Make insulin dosing easier

If you’re staying at the party with your child and there’s an open table of food, the best approach is to get a plate for them to fill with their food options, rather than having them graze. Give them an option of choosing a treat or two, and some lower carb options as well. It’s much easier when you can see the food together on a plate and can give insulin for it like a meal.

Factor in activity

Kids are notorious for being very active at parties, which can have an effect on blood glucose levels. Assess this and factor it into your insulin dosing for food. If your child’s BGLs are trending low, let them choose an extra treat from the party food table.

If your child was too busy playing to eat much at the party, make sure they eat a good dinner or supper before bed, to help avoid overnight hypos.

Use your pump features

If your child uses a pump, consider using the temp basal increase/decrease feature to your advantage at key points during the party.

A hosting tip

If you’re the party host, it’s easy to control the food provided – you can plan round what you know your child will eat and the foods’ carb counts. You can also give diet soft drinks or diet cordials. Make sure there are a lot of active games planned, too.

After the party

If your child’s BGLs are coasting a bit high after the party, serve some healthy carb options at dinner – don’t restrict them in the hopes it will help, as that can lead to lows later in the night. Make sure to test BGLs before they head to bed, and give them more snacks if they need it.

Easter, Ramadan and Halloween tips

For specific tips on Easter, Ramadan and Halloween, see the fact sheet from the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne.

Learn about kids, T1D & exercise

Watch our videos on how activity can impact BGLs. This information will come in handy when kids are running around playing games or taking part in physical activities (such as pool parties or trampoline/play centres). See our video on children, type 1 diabetes and exercise here.