Ways to help a depressed child are communicating with your child and family, being protective of your child, be attentive, spend time with your child, make sure that your child eats health and gets enough sleep, try to engage your child in activities he might enjoy, pay special attention during times of change, find out how his depression manifests and seek professional advice.
Clinical depression is a psychological disorder that is affecting people of all age groups these days. It may be identified as a sustained sadness, a melancholic state of mind that persists in a human being. It differs from the general bad mood that your child may be in, with regard to the depth of the issue. Each episode lasts for at least two weeks, which helps you identify childhood depression in your kid.
Other than the bad mood, a general loss of energy is one other sign of depression in your child. If you notice a lack of interest in activities that your son or daughter enjoyed previously, you might have cause to worry. An older child may even be inclined to act out.
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11 Ways to Help a Depressed Child
Communicate with your child
Communication is the first and most important step that you need to establish if you suspect that your child from signs of depression. Given that they are depressed and on account of the fact that they are children and perhaps do not understand the exact nature of why they are feeling melancholic, they may not be cooperative when you take the first step to know what is actually bothering them. Do not let that get in the way of the mental health of your child. Try and be persistent, without being forceful and carefully cajole him into confiding in you.
Communicate with your family
It is important that you communicate with your family, especially those who interact with your child on a regular basis, and let them know of your kid’s depression. It is important that the people around him are alert about his state, but showering the depressed child is not going to help. Try and keep things normal while interacting with them. If people around them begin to behave abnormally, it might worsen the childhood depression that your child is suffering from.
Read More: Treatment For Depression In Children
Be protective of your child
As parents to children, protection of our kids come as a natural instinct to us. At other times it may have been appropriate to quell the sense of overprotection that we feel towards our child, but given the possible signs of depression, it is best to keep it up. Being subtle about your protective instinct is better than being overtly obvious about it.
Often in our daily life, we tend to be so caught up at work that we fail to pay full attention when we get home. As a parent, with a child waiting to see you at the end of the day, it is important that we give them the attention they deserve. If you notice signs of depression in your child, make sure that you are patient with them, even when you are tired after a long day.
Spend time with your child
Being merely patient will not do the trick. Make sure that the time that you spend quality time with your child, doing things as a family that will bring joy to your heart’s.
Make sure that your child eats health
Keeping an eye on what your kid eats is always important. But the appetite of a depressed child can be particularly low, which can seriously stunt the process of normal growth. Childhood is a period of rapid development, and lack of proper nutrition can have serious consequences on the physical and mental development of your little one.
Make sure that your child gets enough sleep
Insomnia may be a sign of childhood depression. While most kids, tired from the activities of the day, tend to conk out as soon as their heads hit the pillow, the case may be different with your child. Your son or daughter may not be getting enough sleep, which can have serious consequences on their health.
Try to engage your child in activities he might enjoy
Your kid may lose interest in activities that he enjoyed previously, but it is your duty to try and find other things to do that may be of interest to them. In case you are successful, it can help ebb the onset of childhood depression, allowing your child to have a normal childhood as they grow up.
Pay special attention during times of change
Every child goes through a host of changes in their period of growth. The transition from a kid to an adolescent is perhaps one of the toughest challenges that one has to face in their lifetimes. If the episode of childhood depression strikes during this period of transition, you need to be particularly vigilant. Seeking out medical help can make sure that things do not get out of hand as far as your child is concerned.
Find out how his depression manifests
This is an important facet in the way you communicate with your child. You need to know how he or she is feeling in order to identify some characteristics that pose a more direct consequence on your child’s health. If there are tendencies of self-harm, talking to your child can help identify these issues before he or she may get a chance to act on them.
Seek professional advice
It is important that you put the health of your child before anything else. Even though there is a decrease in stigma against seeking out professional help in order to improve one’s mental health, there is still enough to go around. With celebrities coming out and sharing their stories, doing their part to destigmatize mental illness the way society thinks is changing. There is no shame in accepting that your child may need some professional therapy to get back on track and lead life the way it deserves to be lead.
Keeping these points in mind can help you tackle the struggle that you are surely facing in improving the situation for your child. Accepting that your son or daughter is showing signs of childhood depression is difficult, but it is the first step to make sure that things go back to how they were.