My 3yo refusing pod/sensor- how do you explain to them the importance?

Hi parents

So I have been having some challenging times when my daughter randomly rips off her omnipod/dexcom sensors with the rebuttal that none of her friends have one. I tried to explain of the importance of it (for her sake and ours) but I think she is too young to understand. Looking for any advice how to approach this. At this time, we place both the pod and sensor in the upper gluteal region for the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach. While this is currently working as it is hidden from people to see, I am not sure how long this will last.
At what age do they start to understand? Any help would be greatly appreciated

My son was diagnosed when he was three, but we didn’t start using devices until he was around 5, so I might not have the best tips. BUT, have you tried decorating the pods or putting fun stickers on her devices? Also pretty much all the young ones I know that use devices, wear them in the back and upper gluts, as you said out of sight out of mind.

Hope it helps!

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Good idea.
We haven’t really tried that.
Thank you!

I think I’d go for a choices/consequences approach. If possible, give her a choice of whether to wear the pod/sensor stuff. But at the same time, make it clear that there are logical consequences to not wearing them. I don’t know what those would be, but perhaps more fingersticks, shots, etc. Perhaps she could be limited in times or places spent with friends in order to be available for tests.

You may have to stretch a bit for consequences, but try to make them as realistic as possible and related to the lack of diabetic monitoring and control. I do think using a bribe is a bad idea though, because it can lead to demand for more of the same in the future.

On the other hand, your daughter is pretty young, so what might work in a couple years may not be effective now

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Having grandkids this age ,none Type 1 ‘s , stickers and earning money $$are big motivators. They know you need money to go to the Dollar Store to get a toy. That is why parents work,lol. Good luck.

Thanks for the tips

I did once explain that if you dont wear this you will get fingerchecks more often- not sure if she quite understood or just didnt care haha.

If it happens again, bribing will be an option as it still works at this age. Telling her that if she has the devices on she can have pizza etc.

Another great idea. love it
thank you

I was diagnosed at age 5, MANY years ago, when only one injection/day was required, each morning.
There were times I fussed, or ran away to delay the injection. My parents started a sticker chart, and if no fuss, then sticker awarded. End of week I got rewarded based on number of stickers. Same approach worked on younger sibling during potty training, so we would compete for the most stickers!


Thank you for the advice
Another good idea to keep in my back pocket
I am surprised you still remember the days of being 5. I guess the initial stages of this disease will always be a memory no matter the age.

I have nothing to add except to say you’re in my thoughts and prayers … and, the power of positive thinking … you and yours will get through this stage!

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My mom took me in to see Dr, and we were sent directly to hospital admission. I still recall that day and parts of the following 10 days in the hospital. But the one injection per day and no more sweets were the only things that changed. My mom had the tougher transition!

I’m not a parent so take this for what it’s worth (not much), but, I have met three year olds before. You’re not going to reason with them and they’re not going to understand they’re getting extra fingersticks on Saturday because they refused their Dexcom on Thursday. Kids have parents because they can’t make rational decisions for themselves. Every kid has to do things they don’t like, diabetes or not, whether it’s eating broccoli, getting a vaccine, or brushing their teeth. So approach it like that. We’re going to brush teeth, change your sensor, then read a book. Not a big deal. Just part of the routine.

You can also give choices where either option is acceptable. Do you want your Omnipod on your right arm or left arm? Do you want to change your sensor before or after your bath?

I’ve heard of parents letting their kids do something like play a game on their phone or watch a YouTube video that they’re only allowed to do while this is being done to distract them. Speaking of YouTube, you could look for YouTube videos to show them of kids that have Omnipods and CGMs.

You do not have an enviable position. Being a d-parent is tough! But I’m sure you’re doing a great job.


This is nothing to do with diabetes, but when young my son was a champion cry baby. My Mum made a chart for him and every day he did not cry a smiley face was drawn on the chart (a sticker would be better!) and when he had so many smiley faces he got a little prize.

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Thank you for your helpful advice and your kind words.
We have been approaching it the way you had described as a ‘routine’.
Any chance you have any advice on when you should start explaining more to them about their condition? She knows she has diabetes and thats why we fingercheck her, but doesnt understand why.

Thank you for the helpful post

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I think I would just talk through diabetes care as you do it and she’ll start understanding it just like kids learn about the rest of the world around them. Kids are good at picking up on things.

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You might find the following helpful for explaining diabetes to kids.


I’ve had diabetes since I was 18 months old so my personal experience is with injections and finger sticks not pumps or sensors but if CGM’s had been around when I was little I would have much preferred them to the sticks. My family just reiterated again and again that my pancreas didn’t work so that’s why I needed shots and if I didn’t get them I would get really sick and since I didn’t want to be sick I tolerated them.

The more you educate her now the better off you will be especially in a couple of years when she will be at school without you and the only adult who will be with her for most of the day will be a teacher that doesn’t have your knowledge so she will have to help fill in the gaps. Knowing when she is low and knowing that in order to eat something she will have to have her medicine is extremely important and you might want to consider finding some other kids in your area who have diabetes so she doesn’t feel alone.


I have not raised a diabetic child so grain of salt with what follow. I have raised a lot of kids. At that age, they mostly want to “be like Mom”. Any chance you could wear similar equipment, enthusiastically, ‘for health’, so she feels less different? Crazy thought, I know. Argh. Good luck!

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Thanks for the reply
Yes - I retaped her old sensor on my arm to show her I got one too. That was short lived. Thankfully, after we placed both the sensor/omnipod In her upper gluts, we havent had any acts of refusal. I truly believe she didnt want any devices showing as it attracts attention of the other kids in her daycare.