Categorized | Child Health Issues, Health

Dealing With Depression In Children

The toddler years is supposed to be a fun and happy time for children. Unfortunately, there are some children who deal with depression. But luckily, there is a solution for this problem. Here are some natural ways to help parents treat depression in children.

Signs of Depression

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Increase or loss of appetite
  • Social withdrawal
  • Sadness
  • Frequent crying

Coping With Depression

Recognize The Problem

Depression is not something that goes away through time. Thus, the very first step to help a toddler with depression is for the parent to accept that the child is depressed. When you acknowledge that there is a problem, you can think clearly and come up with effective solutions to combat this condition.

Identify The Source of Depression

A toddler with a depressed parent or a mental illness is more likely to suffer from depression. Traumatic life events like abuse (emotional, social, sexual or physical abuse), neglect at home or at school, parent’s divorce, death of a loved one, detached parenting and accidents can also lead to depression. Identifying the cause of your toddler’s depression is very important so you can resolve that issue and permanently cure your toddler’s disorder.

Modify Your Toddler’s Diet

A depressed toddler should have a healthy eating habit. Ditch (or at least limit) chips, sweets and sodas and prepare healthy meals for your little one. Wheat bread contains serotonin and green vegetables like broccoli and spinach are natural antidepressants as these contain high amounts of vitamin B9 or folic acid, which are natural mood stabilizers. Citrusy fruits such as oranges, pineapples and lemons are rich in vitamin C which is needed for the body to produce dopamine to keep your toddler bright and energetic. Let him drink plenty of water (at least eight glasses a day) as well. This will keep your toddler from getting dehydrated which causes exhaustion. Eating right helps cleanse your toddler’s body of toxins and chemicals that could be affecting his mood.

Get Moving

Regular exercise is one of the best ways to naturally treat depression. When a person exercises, endorphins (happy hormones) are released in the body which will give him a feeling of euphoria. This will also boost a person’s self-esteem which will help him feel better and look at life with a more positive attitude. Exercise together with your toddler. It can be as simple as playing tag, hide and seek, walking from the house to the park or cleaning the house.

Make Sure Your Toddler Gets Plenty of Sleep

Notice how irritable you are when you do not get adequate sleep? Sleep deprivation stops an individual’s body and mind to function well. The less sleep your toddler gets, the more down he will feel. To make sure your youngster gets plenty of rest, create a bedtime routine and stick to it. It can be as simple as giving him a bath, offering a light snack, reading a book, cuddling followed by a hug and a kiss and then lights-out. A bedtime routine creates consistency which will help relax your depressed toddler at night.

Seek Support

Toddlers who suffer from depression need a lot of support from their parents and from professionals. Look for a therapist that will help your toddler work on his social skills. Invite your neighbor’s kids over to your house, set-up play dates or if he likes to play soccer, enroll him in a soccer class. This will encourage him to be more active, increasing his confidence and social interactions. If he is surrounded with friends, his depression will ultimately go away.

Of course, the most important thing you can do to help your depressed toddler is to communicate with your toddler and to show your love and compassion. Having a strong support system can combat depression effectively.

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