Management strategies and practicalities of insulin therapy in the first days and weeks after the diagnosis of diabetes in children and adolescents depend on the clinical situation and the facilities available. Outpatient or domiciliary management favoured by some centres is only practicable and safe if an experienced team is readily available. There is evidence showing a correlation between the level of glycaemic control achieved in the earliest years of treatment and the metabolic control in subsequent years (the ‘tracking phenomenon’). The major factors influencing metabolic control in the first year after diagnosis certainly include the continuing secretion of endogenous pancreatic insulin. There has been considerable debate as to whether continuing insulin secretion and the induction of the remission phase can be significantly affected by the methods of insulin administration in the first days after clinical diagnosis; whether intravenous insulin has a protective effect; whether psychosocial factors have a more profound influence on metabolic control; and whether there is enough evidence to make valid recommendations on the optimal method(s) for treating children at the onset of diabetes. It seems likely that from the first day after diagnosis benefit is derived from attempting to obtain near normoglycaemia and the rapid induction of a partial remission phase by whatever insulin regimen is found to be most successful. This may occur not only by reducing the threat of glucotoxicity on the β-cells but also by setting a pattern of optimal control for the child and the family. This process is enhanced by frequent contact with the team of experts in childhood diabetes who are able to give advice on insulin adjustments from the onset of diabetes.