How to Survive the School Party with T1D


I like to think we’re pretty prepared.

I’ve handed out printouts. I’ve stood up to talk about food and Type 1 diabetes at the first parent meeting of the year at school. I’ve messaged all of the parents at the start of the year asking them to send me recipes for treats, I’ve showed up to nearly every classroom party since my son’s diagnosis.

But no matter what I do, there are always parents that just can’t seem to write down their ingredients or give me the amounts of what they’ve made.

It can be super frustrating to feel like a burden. Other moms and dads just get to watch their children gleefully stuff their faces with rice crispy treats and overly frosted cupcakes. I watch as that sad, familiar look comes over my son’s face, knowing full well that he can have those treats too, but he is estimating, he is deciding whether or not it’s worth the spike.

He’s looking at his number on his CGM, he’s fiddling with his pump, he is scanning the room to meet my eyes with an eyebrow raise and a thumbs up. He wants to give himself insulin now.

Sometimes he says, “I think that I need a break” which means: Mama, you take my pump, you take my CGM, you trail me a little and bolus me for all these things, please turn off my high alarm so I don’t have to think about it. Please tell me not to worry, please Mama, I just want to be a kid.

There have been a few surprise treats over the years, birthdays of kids, random treats from the teacher and some of the time I am not there, as much as I want to be. And I don’t want him to have to be anxious and sad while the rest of his class is celebrating.

We decided to make a little “Party Box” for Henry to keep in his classroom. When he sees something someone made and either
a) thinks that it looks gross (this happens a lot and he is a super food snob)
b) literally has no idea how to bolus for it and even sends me a picture and I have no idea either or
c) he just wants his own food that he knows the carbs of
Then he can choose a snack from his box; that way he gets to celebrate without the anxiety of a mystery carb load.
Here are a few things we like to keep in his Party Box!

Parent to a T1D kiddo? Check out Beyond Type 1’s Holiday Parenting Survival Guide and Holiday Carb Chart.

WRITTEN BY Sara Jensen, POSTED 12/07/17, UPDATED 04/26/21

Sara's son Henry was diagnosed with Type 1 at the age of 5 in 2013. Sara is both the Creative Director for Genevieve Gorder and Beyond Type 1. She has worked for Kramer Design Group in NYC and worked with a vast array of clients over the past 15 years. She is passionate about foster adoption, Type 1, good food and humor. She lives on a tiny island in the middle of a big ocean.