Is Your Child Sad? How To Prevent Depression in Children
Learning how to prevent depression may be helpful for keeping your children from suffering and helping be more emotionally balanced in the future.We usually think that children have no reason to be sad, but depression in children exists, just like depression in teenagers and adults. We’ll give you some tips on how to prevent depression in children. You may not be able to prevent it completely, but these tips and tricks will help you be alert and act on time.
Tips for how to prevent depression in children
1. Talk to your children and pay attention to what they say: one way to prevent depression in children is to listening actively to them. You may sometimes talk to your children without really paying attention to what they’re saying.. in the car on the way home from school, when you’re getting ready to go to soccer practice… it’s normal to ask questions but get preoccupied with other things. Try to set some time aside to really listen to what your child is telling you. You’ll learn more about what they’re thinking and how they feel. You also have to think about the things that your child isn’t telling you, things that they may be worried about but are nervous to face on their own. Be prepared to talk about some difficult things so that your children feel comfortable and safe when you talk to them.
2. Children need to feel safe, which is why they may start to feel depressed after going though big changes. If your going through something big, like moving house or parents splitting up, try to keep the same routines that you had before. It may seem like something small in comparison to what’s going on, but they will respond better if, for example, they go to sleep or have dinner at the same time as before. Routines will always help prevent depression in children going through big changes and even those who don’t because it helps structure their lives and emotions.
3. Exhaustion may have a lot to do with depression, if you see that your children have insomnia, make some changes and work to make sure that they’re well rested.
4. Use positive reinforcement with your kids: recognize the effort that they put in to do something and congratulate them on their accomplishments. It may be something like completing their homework with no errors or helping a friend when they felt down. It is always better to focus on their accomplishments than fixate on the things they did wrong.
5. Be on their side: we already talked about how children need to feel safe, which is why they have to know that their loved ones will be there for them whenever they’re needed. Even when you’re swamped, take some time our to just be with them.
6. Try to understand your child’s feelings and tell them that you understand how they feel, or that you could tell they were upset about something. Don’t wait for these situations to pass on their own, they may be going though something and need some extra help.
7. You have to accept that you won’t always be able to keep your kids from getting upset, they have to learn how to control their emotions and work out tough situations on their own. It’s hard as a parent to see them upset, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You’ll have to use your best judgment in these situations. If you think the situation is going to far, you may have to step in.
8. Don’t overwhelm them with questions: sometimes kids don’t know what they’re feeling and can’t explain it clearly. If you ask them too many questions about how they’re feeling, they’ll start to question they’re feelings and may have problems expressing themselves in the future.
9.If there are problems at home, try to minimize or resolve them. If children are exposed to discord for a long time, they have a higher risk of becoming depressed. They’ll start to feel incapable of resolving bad things that happen around them and it’ll affect their self-esteem. The sooner you try to solve these problems, the sooner the situation at home with resolve.
10. Look into cases of depression in your family. If you have family members that had depression, you should learn what you can about it. Depression has a genetic factor, so it is possible that you child is affected by this. If one parent has depression, the children have a 25% chance of having it as well. If both parents have depression, there is a 75% chance.
11. Children with illnesses and special needs can also have depression because they feel excluded or less capable than the other kids. In these cases, you have to listen to their concerns and look for ways to play with other kids.
12. If you’re not able to prevent depression in your child, get help. All of these tips may help prevent depression, but some cases get more difficult and the child may end up with depression. If this happens, you should get in touch with a professional, either a psychologist or the school counselor, to talk to your child. Ignoring your child’s depression will only lead to more damage.
This post is also available in: Spanish