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4 Tips for Supporting a Child with Depression

May 18th, 2017     By Jennifer Simpson | Boys Town Family Teacher

Depressed, Kids and Teens in Crisis, Parenting Skills

This article was originally shared on momaha.com.

Depression affects kids in a variety of ways and can be situational or a constant in their life.

There are a few things parents can do to help keep depression at bay and help their kids through this challenging time. Here are a few tips:

1. Implement routine and schedules for your kids throughout the day.

For example, try to eat meals and snacks at similar times during the day. If your kids are school-age, implement a study hour at the same time each day. Sleeping habits are important to your kids’ health and mood, so implement a bedtime routine and try to have your kids in bed and waking up at the same times each day. This consistency in routine gives kids something to depend on while keeping them healthy at the same time.

2. Encourage healthy habits for your kids.

Maintain good eating and sleeping habits, but also exercise and activity. Get your kids outside at least 20 minutes each day by taking a walk, going to a park, running around in the backyard, etc. Keeping our kids’ bodies active and getting fresh air can improve their moods and help with feelings of depression.

3. Be supportive and encourage open communication.

Having conversations about how things make them feel in more neutral situations, both positively and negatively, can help them to be able to recognize patterns in their moods. Simply knowing they have someone to talk to can help kids battle feelings of depression. Give them a judgement-free zone to be themselves and talk about what’s bothering them. Empower them to try to find their own solutions that may help them.

4. Seek additional assistance from a trained professional.

Reach out to one of the many resources in the community. Schedule an appointment with a mental health professional or call the Boys Town National Hotline for additional information. Remember, you don’t need to tackle this alone.

The more we can do to teach our kids healthy habits and provide structure and support, the more tools they will have to cope with feelings of depression. For more information about parenting a child with depression call the Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000 or visit www.boystown.org.

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