If you notice that your child is showing symptoms of the winter blues, ensure that you talk to your family physician before attempting any kind of treatment. You may observe certain signs like loss of energy, anxiety, oversleeping, irritability and poor appetite. Your child’s teacher may notice poor concentration at school and difficulty processing information. These are just a few of the symptoms associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD).
Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD) starts during the winter months, and could begin as early as October, intensifying by January. SAD is a certified mood disorder with depression like symptoms. It occurs in adults and children who normally would not have these issues in the summer or spring. Lack of exposure to sunlight is seen as the main reason people suffer from SAD. It is, however, easily controlled once a diagnosis has been made.
Helping your child cope with Seasonal affective disorder involves consulting with your physician and helping your child to manage the symptoms of SAD. Letting the child know that he or she has a temporary condition brought on by the winter season is one starting point. You can devise simple ways to inform the child about treatment options and lifestyle changes.
Provide a lightbox that is suitable for your child’s age and show her how to use it. You can use the lightbox along with the child or take turns. Make its use a fun experience at scheduled times of the day and soon she will be using it on her own. Better yet, ensure that your child has as much exposure to the outdoors as possible. This may not be a problem if the child is in school but it is still important that you encourage and support her with fun outdoor activities and exercise.
Parents with children who suffer from seasonal affective disorder can be supportive by ensuring that the children eat a healthy balanced diet. Weight gain is common among SAD sufferers so it is critical that you carefully monitor the type of food your children eat. Foods that provide Omega-3 acids and vitamin D are particularly important at this time.
Talk to your child’s teacher so that she is aware of the problem. The teacher should be encouraged to let you know when problems related to incomplete assignments, sleeping at school, lack of concentration, arises. At home, monitor your child’s homework activities and provide help and support where needed.
Supporting children who suffer from Seasonal Affective disorder requires patience, a good understanding of the disorder and knowledge of the tools available to help alleviate the symptoms. Above all, a warm, loving and healthy environment will go a long way in helping your children survive the winter blues.