All of us with school-aged children know the back-to-school drill all too well. There are school supply lists, forms to fill out, clothes/shoes to be bought, etc. When you have a child with T1D the list of things to prepare in order to make you feel ready to head back to school is even longer; school kits, 504 plans, etc. I decided to come up with a list of back to school with diabetes supply list. Many of the items on this list aren’t mandatory, but going into a new school year it can be fun to spruce up those T1D supplies.
Children’s Books– If you have a newly diagnosed kiddo heading back to school this Fall these three books are great reads.
- Coco Goes Back to School– Print versions of the Coco Goes Back to School book is available at pediatric endocrinologist offices in the U.S. You can find the online version here.
- Taking Diabetes to School– Link to purchase here.
- Open Up Your Bag: A Diabetes Picture Book– Link to purchase here.
Myabetic Notebooks + Syringe Pens– Myabetic just came out with these adorable notebooks featuring original diabetes artwork. I found the syringe pens on Amazon– very fitting for our heroes who have seen their fair share of needles.
Myabetic- Premium Diabetes Supply Cases– If you’re needing to revamp your diabetes supply case, check out Myabetic! I did a full review on C’s Myabetic case that we absolutely love! That post will tell you all you need to know.
Pump Peelz– Add a little style to your insulin pumps, CGMs, and meters, for the new school year, with eco-friendly Peelz. You can choose from hundreds of designs!
Washi Tape– Want an economical way to decorate test strip bottles? You can purchase washi tape at Target, Wal-Mart or any craft store. You can find a pattern to match any personality and it’s a quick, easy, and cheap way to jazz up your test strip bottles.
Spibelt– You can discretely wear your insulin pump in these belts. C clips his pump to his waistband and sticks his phone in the belt. He wears it every day. What I have pictured is a belt we got from Dexcom at their booth at diabetes camp. We got several at that time so C has been wearing those, but when those wear out we will be purchasing a Spibelt again. We’ve had one in the past and loved it!
Type 1 Apparel– If you’re looking to spruce up your wardrobe with diabetes apparel, these are some great sites in which to find some great apparel: Beyond Type 1, Glitter Glucose, DiaBe Tees & Pump Wear Inc.
Medical ID Bracelets– Despite my best efforts, C has never been a fan of wearing a medical ID bracelet. The only thing I’ve ever been able to get him to wear on a remotely consistent basis is the “Type 1 Diabetic” bracelet that comes with this bracelet pack at shopthedrop.org.
Lunch Packing Supplies– Back to school prep for me also includes evaluating my lunch packing supplies. I pack C’s (and his brother’s) lunch every single day, so ensuring I replenish my lunch packing supplies is an important step for me. Here are some of my favorite lunch packing supplies:
- EasyLunchboxes Lunch Box
- Lunch boxes (PlanetBox, EasyLunchboxes, Yumbox, Fit & Fresh, & LunchBots)
- Lunchbox Love notes
Diabetes Supply Storage– Last but certainly not least, is coming up with a plan for diabetes supply storage/organization. From what I’ve gathered over the years, where people store their supplies, and the contents of these containers can vary pretty greatly. Some keep little boxes in each classroom their child will be in, some store all of their supplies in the nurses office, and some carry their items with them. For C, we always stored his supplies in the nurses office, and had juice stocked in his actual classroom in the event of a lock down, etc. This year we are switching it up, because he’s starting middle school and will be traveling from class to class, whereas in past years he’s primarily been in one classroom. This year he will be carrying a sling bag with him from class to class. It will contain his meter, supplies for lows (juice, glucose tabs + gel, gummy bears, and smarties), bottled water (for high blood sugar days), and some protein bars.
He will also have a box of additional supplies in the nurses office (read below for what the contents of that box will contain). I am also giving him my Apple Watch in hopes that many issues that come up we can deal with in the classroom, without him having to make a ton of trips to the nurses office, like he has in past years. My hope is that I’ll be able to text him when something comes up, like him needing to do a correction, or if I see him going low, without each of these instances requiring a visit to the office. I know he felt like he was pulled out a lot last year, so I’m hoping this will be a good step toward independence and also will require fewer diabetes-related interruptions to his day. We are trying the Apple Watch this year, because he keeps his phone on vibrate while at school, because it embarrasses him when it goes off during class. The downside was that his responsiveness to me wasn’t great then, because it was about 50/50 if he’d actually feel his phone vibrate when I’d try to contact him. So I am hopeful the real-time nudges from the Apple Watch will help with this.
Supply Box– On to the supply box we’ll be keeping in the nurses office. I recommend purchasing a medium sized plastic tote with a lid. On the outside of the box put your child’s name (and a current photo, if desired) and two phone numbers where you can be reached the quickest. This year I also purchased the red first aid bag (pictured above) at Target, and thought it was perfect for organizing some of the smaller items you need for your box. Your box should contain anything your child may need to manage diabetes for the day. This forum has a great list of things you may want to include in your supply box: forums.childrenwithdiabetes.com. Your box contents will vary depending on if your child does injections or if they are on an insulin pump, etc. This is what we have in C’s box:
- Juice boxes- we include two sizes of juice boxes and give parameters for when to give which one. The big ones are only used to treat severe lows.
- Glucose tabs- we like GlucoLift.
- Glucose gummies
- Transcend glucose gel
- Snacks- in past years we built a snack into C’s morning because he had P.E. and recess in the morning and ate about an hour later than he had in previous years. That small snacks helped stabilize blood sugar and prevent lows. Of course if his blood sugar was high, we’d skip the snack for that day. The main snack I’d send is bars.ONE protein bars, RXBAR Kids, KIND Minis, Quest bars, and Lara Bars are C’s favorites. Here are some other school snack ideas: 20 Carb Snack Packs. We will asses if we will build a snack into his day for this year, once we have his schedule.
- Diawipes- finger testing wipes.
- Blood glucose meter
- Testing strips
- Glucagon Kit
- Ketostix or ketone meter
I know many people keep insulin pump supplies, syringes, insulin, etc., at school as well, but what I listed above is all that we’ve ever kept at school. I am a stay-at-home mom and live less than 5 minutes from C’s school, so any pump issues that have ever come up I’ve been able to run to the school myself to do a pump site change, etc. This has always worked for us and throughout his entire elementary career, I’ve only had to go to the school a handful of times to address an issue that required supplies we only kept at home.
Of course if your situation is different than this, and your nurse is trained on how to change pump sites, you will want to include supplies for that.
Hopefully this list will help you start feeling prepared for a new school year, and can be a way in which you can help make your child’s diabetes…dare I say “fun” for once? For more on the topic of diabetes and school, check out my 10 Back-to-School with Diabetes Tips post here.