Parents and Teachers
The DO’s of Hypoglycemia
- DO OPEN up lines of communication with your child concerning their food habits and possible associated signs and symptoms. Let them know also that wrong choices, even in diet, may produce negative consequences.
- DO EDUCATE yourselves! Parents, it is your responsibility to be educated in this correlation between diet and behavior. What your child eats and doesn’t eat directly relates to how he thinks, feels, and acts.
- DO SEARCH the Internet, local library, and bookstores, and attend any seminar on this or related subjects. The more you know, the better able you will be to make an informed decision.
- DO WORK with a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable about hypoglycemia and sympathetic to your child’s needs. Reread the section “How To Find a Physician.”
- DO WORK with local schools, teachers, counselors and community leaders. Share the information in this section with all of them.
- DO CULTIVATE an on-going relationship with your child’s teacher concerning diet and behavior. Open, honest communication is crucial.
- DO REVIEW your child’s dietary habits before administration of any medicine prescribed for behavioral problems or modification. Share your findings with his/her physician. Often a change in a high-sugar diet will eliminate the need for hyperactivity medications or will minimize the dosage required. Trying a diet change for a few weeks or months first could save years of unnecessary medication.
- DO MONITOR the amount of junk food your child is eating. One parent said that his child hid candy wrappers all over the bedroom—under the beds, in his dresser drawers and pants pockets. This is a sure sign of a junk food/candy addict.
- DO EVALUATE your child’s eating habits. Keep a diet/symptom diary and eliminate the big offenders. Sugar is the biggest culprit for younger children. For older teenagers, caffeine, tobacco and alcohol may play a role.
- DO MAKE shopping for food, planning meals and cooking a family affair.
- DO READ labels carefully and involve your child. Teach them early on how to decipher product labels and eliminate food and drinks with high sugar and caffeine content.
- DO OPT for organically grown and pesticide-free products, especially if your child is known to have food allergies. You can even help children start their own vegetable garden. If you live in a city or an apartment, promote the idea of planting an herb garden, which is smaller and much easier to keep.
- DO ENCOURAGE your child/adolescent or teenager to share any physical symptoms with you. If you have a family physician, naturally he/she should also be the first person made aware of severe fatigue, insomnia, panic attacks, fainting spells, etc.
- DO REALIZE the importance of carrying a Health Emergency Card with you (or your child) at all times. This is especially crucial if anyone has a history of fainting spells. This card includes the emergency telephone numbers of parents or close relatives/friends and physicians. Most importantly, it explains that one is hypoglycemic, so paramedics or other health professionals can quickly administer the appropriate medical treatment.
- DO ENCOURAGE your child to share any emotional symptoms with a parent, physician, close adult, teacher or school counselor, especially depression and suicidal thoughts. If this is not possible, let him/her know that there are anonymous hotlines available. Check your local Yellow Pages.
- DO ENSURE that your child eats breakfast every morning. It is the most important meal of the day.
- DO EDUCATE your teen on the dangers of water fasts and diet pills, especially if the latter are taken without a doctor’s supervision.
- DO PROMOTE exercise. Take advantage of opportunities to sign your child up for school or community-based sports teams, or make exercise—walking, biking—a part of your daily routine as a family.
- DO ELIMINATE soda as an acceptable beverage choice for your child. Each 12-ounce bottle of soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar!! Go for bottled water!
- DO TEACH healthy food choices such as broiled and baked chicken and lean meats, lots of fresh vegetables and allowable fruits instead of fast food. Broiled or baked chicken and salads if you must opt for fast foods.
- DO ALLOW high protein bars and shakes for teens who tend to skip the occasional meal or for those times when food is not easily accessible, such as on a field trip. Be aware, however, that many bars contain a high amount of sugar. You must read labels.
The DON’TS of Hypoglycemia
- DON’T IGNORE lack of self-control, angry outbursts, hysteria, inability to handle changing or stressful situations. This applies to both adults and children.
- DON’T ASSUME that children’s junk food habits are something they will outgrow.
- DON’T IMAGINE that children understand the importance of good dietary habits. They learn from what they see and hear from other family members.
- DON’T FORGET to include a daily multi-vitamin/mineral as part of your child’s daily regimen, but get permission from their physician first!
- DON’T PUT your child on any medication for behavior, particularly for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), without first talking to a healthcare provider, evaluating their eating habits and checking for food allergies and food sensitivities.
- DO NOT STOP ANY MEDICATION WITHOUT THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN.
- DON’T TOLERATE any doctor who ignores your concerns or your child’s symptoms.
- DON’T FORGET to be supportive and HUG your children. Let them know that their problems are important to you and that you will always be there to help.
- DO HAVE information about diet and behavior available for your students and parents, including specific organizations, support groups, and toll-free numbers.
- DO PROVIDE in-house educational programs that include students, parents, and teachers.
- DO EVALUATE the food, snacks and soda that are available to the children, whether in the school cafeteria or vending machines. Challenge their presence and lobby to have any offending food or drink product changed!! Involve other parents and teachers.
- DO BE sympathetic if a child and his/her parent inform you that they have a blood sugar management problem and need to have a snack at certain times of the day. Please don’t dismiss this request. A snack can be something as simple as a few almonds or a protein bar. This shouldn’t disturb the class or other children. You could even use this as an excuse to explain proper diet and nutrition to children. No one, hypoglycemic or not, needs sugar and refined foods and junk food.
- DO GET a written note from a healthcare professional if you suspect a child may be having a sugar management problem. Or request a parent conference and share what you know. They may be at their wits’ end, and this information could help them immensely.
RESOURCES FOR PARENTS & TEACHERS
How does added sugar affect the health of our school communities?
Does your school have available processed foods in the form of snacks and beverages for purchase? The health of the school community (students, parents, teachers and staff) is at risk due to the effects of excess added sugar in the processed foods and beverages that are commonly found in school settings. Many schools communities are already promoting healthy lifestyles that include better food choices and exercise. Why we should be concerned specifically about added sugar? Sugar is the most common additive in processed foods today and has become a major component in our daily diet without us realizing it. Recent studies have implicated that excess consumption of sugar in our diets is associated with many metabolic diseases (such as type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, etc.) that today are common and worrisome, and are affecting our children as never before. The following presentation, prepared by Volunteer Patricia Caldera, will help you understand the problem and provides ideas for solutions. Let’s join forces to promote change starting with our school community.
Self-Guided Presentation Materials for “How Sugar Affects our Health”
Bring Back the Kitchens to Our Schools!
- Real food comes from real kitchens; schools need them and our classrooms need them. Read our feature story here!
Ditch the Junk Food Fundraisers
- Ditch the junk food fundraising – and join the growing list of organization who are revolutionizing school fundraising and make your next fundraiser a Farmraiser.