Just like adults, it’s natural for children to feel down sometimes. During their developmental years, they may often feel strong emotions of fear and worry. However, if your child is feeling “blue” for a long period of time, it may be more than normal ups and downs. It could be a sign of depression.
If you think your child is depressed, as their parent or guardian, there are a number of things you can do to help them. Read on to find out.
1) Talk To Your Child
The first action you should take is to talk to your child. Try to know more about the events that led to this situation. Perhaps your child is upset at a specific thing or event, or something unpleasant happened in school. Or maybe your child had a conflict with another family member. Talking to your child might help them express and process their emotions better.
Listen, No Matter How Small Or Big The Matter Is
Whatever their problem is, don’t belittle it. Something trivial for you may mean the opposite for them. Encouraging a child to talk can be very helpful for them, because they are still young, so they may have difficulty understanding what they are feeling. Assess the situation by putting yourself in their shoes, so you can have a better idea of how you can help them.
Let Them Know They’re Not Alone
If you’re having trouble encouraging your child to open up, don’t give up. Make it clear to them that you are only concerned about their well-being, but also respect their need for space. Most importantly, always remind them that you are there for them if they need you. You can also encourage them to talk to someone they trust—another family member, friend, or teacher.
2) Manage Symptoms
Depression has different causes and can be rooted from different circumstances. It can be a situation such as bullying or family issues. It can also be biological, especially when your family has a history of depression or other mental health problems.
Knowing that you can’t always control the stressors around your child’s life can be a difficult pill to swallow. However, this doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do to help them cope.
Here are some healthy behaviors that you can promote to your child:
Having a meal plan that includes fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources, whole grains, and nuts and seeds is beneficial for their overall well-being. Make sure that they drink sufficient water every day. Allowing them to indulge in sweets and junk food every once in a while is okay, too.
Remember that mental health is directly linked to physical health. Being in an unhealthy state physically can only further worsen your child’s mental health.
Being Physically Active
Let your child play outside! Encourage them to try sports. Exercise as a family. Being active can strengthen their heart and lungs, leading to cardiorespiratory endurance. It can vitalize their bones and muscles. It can control their weight, which can help prevent a variety of diseases. Most importantly, it can help reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Aside from mental and physical development, play is important to enhance your child’s imagination. It can also boost their cognitive and emotional intelligence, and playing with others helps develop their social skills, too!
Having Sufficient Sleep
Sleep is important for a child’s growth and development. Children who are well-rested are seen to have better behavior, memory, attention, and learning. When a child doesn’t get enough sleep, it can affect their growth hormones. It can also lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and depression. Therefore, insufficient sleep is detrimental to one’s mental and physical well-being.
3) Seek Professional Help
Lastly, never forget that help is always available. While you may be able to see signs and symptoms, the best person to diagnose your child is a medical professional.
The first thing you can do is to take your child for a comprehensive pediatric check-up. If necessary, your primary care doctor may recommend that your child undergo a mental health check.
If your child is diagnosed with depression, don’t worry. Depression is a treatable condition. Your mental health doctor will recommend a fitting combination of treatments for your child. It may include talk therapy, family counseling, medications, and other interventions. The specific set of treatments will depend on your child’s needs and comfort.
Parents are encouraged to visit a clinic that has a comprehensive list of services, from primary care to mental health care. This can help ease your child’s discomfort and lessen your worries as a parent.
Mental Health Care For Children In Purchase, New York
As parents, witnessing your child struggle with depression can be the most difficult thing. Here at Westchester Park Pediatrics, our dedicated team of compassionate staff and skilled medical providers are here to provide your child with specialized medical services for their mental health. Our advanced facilities and equipment are guaranteed to ensure their comfort and wellbeing.
Looking for a trustworthy clinic for your child’s primary and mental health needs? Don’t hesitate to give us a call at (914) 761-1717 or book an appointment online. Our comfortable office and welcoming team are looking forward to helping you and your child!