When winter is not happy: seasonal depression in children
December 22 is a turning point when the longest night is recorded and after twilight time begins to decline. Soon the New Year holidays, children’s holidays – so why are some of us not happy?
Many people think that depression in the dark season is a lot of adults. However, children are equally susceptible to it, because they also lack sunshine, just like their parents. How does this condition manifest itself in childhood and how to help your child survive this difficult period?
Causes of Seasonal Depression
The child, just like an adult, needs ultraviolet rays. They are no less important than water and fresh air. Residents of the northern regions of our country see the sun several hours a day from mid-November to mid-January, while those living in the Arctic have no ultraviolet rays for a whole month. This can not but affect the full-fledged work of the human body: both an adult and a child.
When exposed to UV light on the skin of the child, the brain produces a hormone serotonin. It evokes a feeling of joy, happiness, self-confidence, a positive attitude and the need for physical activity. The production of serotonin and the enzymes that metabolize it is controlled by the genetic apparatus. That is, there are children who do not react at all to the duration of the daylight hours. But there are those who, with an ultraviolet deficit, experience the full range of negative states united by the same term “seasonal depression.” It is about the latter and will be discussed in our article.
Seasonal depression in children of different ages
Seasonal depression manifests itself in all children about the same, but small age differences still can be identified.
- Children of the first 2 years of life are naughty, infants prefer to stay long at her mother’s breast, which gives them the desired comfort. Changes in food preferences are observed, children can refuse both their usual food and resist the new one. Often in the dark season there is a slowdown in weight gain and height, which can frighten parents.
- Preschool children (from 2 to 6 years). Short daylight hours and the kids who attend kindergarten. They become slow, often in a depressed mood, unwilling to play on their own and constantly require parental attention.
- Junior schoolchildren may have trouble concentrating when performing lessons. They are often distracted, long behind a page in a textbook or one example. Often complain of fatigue, it is difficult to wake them to school in the morning. They often develop colds, but the cause is not only the viruses themselves, but their unwillingness to go anywhere. To lie in bed and watch cartoons is what the elementary school children really need in the dark season.
- Adolescence is extremely difficult, and in the early winter period, children can throw a number of problems to their parents. They become capricious, reticent, depressive, melancholic, often suffer from unrequited love. They lose interest in sports, clubs, meetings with friends.
How to help your child cope with seasonal depression
Parents are also people, and in the dark season they also suffer from a lack of sunlight. Problems with children add to their troubles and further increase the depressive mood. However, their task is to help their child survive this difficult period. Immediately after the celebration of New Year and Christmas, the light day begins to gradually increase, and the mood will gradually improve.
But the whole of December the child needs increased attention, participation in his problems and he needs to be given all possible assistance. To do this, follow these rules.
- Physical contact All the time that parents spend at home with as a child, they should spend it together. Read books, draw, engage in creative work or just talk, lying under a warm blanket with a cup of warm cocoa. Hugs do not happen much, they will benefit both.
- Attention to problems. It often happens that parents do not take the problems of the baby seriously. However, he also suffers from the fact that his favorite airplane was broken, as well as adults from problems at work. It is worth trying as carefully to treat its complexities, as we would like to be treated to their own. It is necessary to carefully listen to the child (or at least pretend), because for him the support of parents is very important.
- No diets. In the dark and cold season, the body lacks endorphins – pleasure hormones. Parents should make sweet gifts to their children more often, let it be just a little candy per day – it will definitely improve the mood. Cocoa, tea with waffles, a couple of chocolate slices – the best remedy for depression and depression.
- More lighting. There is nothing more pleasant than to enter a warm, cozy home after a long journey home in bad weather. However, it is very important that in the dark season the lighting in the nursery was very bright. To do this, you can additionally purchase a lamp, lamp, floor lamp. The mood is added by lanterns hanging on the walls, festoons and Christmas-tree tinsel. Children should feel cozy and warm, but in order for them to want to play, read or go about their business, it is worthwhile to take care of the lighting in advance.
- Socializing with friends. Children are always more fun to play with others than to spend time alone, even with a million toys. On weekends, you should try to get out “in people” more often, invite classmates to visit, attend interesting exhibitions, children’s programs.
What symptoms should alert parents
In most cases, seasonal depression in a child passes without a trace in the first days after the celebration of the new year. But, nevertheless, in some cases, it can be delayed. The following symptoms should alert parents. When they appear, you should seek help from a specialist:
- the child has become so apathetic, he refuses to play and do something at all,
- baby completely refuses to eat
- the child constantly insists that he is the worst of all, nobody needs him, he does not succeed,
- school performance has become extremely bad, and the teacher pays attention to it,
- the child expresses suicidal thoughts, or the parents were able to find confirmation of this somewhere (for example, in a personal diary, notebooks, social networks),
- the child began to show aggression towards parents, sisters, brothers, pets,
- the kid constantly says that he is tired, the classes that he previously likes have ceased to interest him completely.
It is necessary to show the child to a child psychologist or psychiatrist. After talking with him, he will tell you how to help him. In rare cases, antidepressants are prescribed.
Seasonal depression in winter is a temporary phenomenon, and the love of parents is the main remedy for overcoming this condition.