It is important that parents recognise signs of distress in their child. Especially during extended periods of time when the child is stuck at home, in their room, scrolling through social media and the internet. You might be asking why is this so important?For two main reasons. The first is because staying in a small space like a bedroom for long periods of time can have an impact on an individual's mental wellbeing. Secondly, when a child stays away from their family for a long time, parents may not be aware of the psychological difficulties their child is experiencing. This can become a serious problem in the future, as untreated psychological symptoms can create greater impacts and be longer lasting the more time it is given to fester and grow.
So, what can you do during the holiday break to make sure your child is enjoying it as much as they can? The first thing is to be aware of the signs, this is especially true for the two most common psychological difficulties, depression and anxiety.Signs of depression:
Changes in your child's emotions or behaviour:- seems sad or unhappy most of the time
Changes in your child's interest in everyday activities:- don't have as much energy as they usually do
Changes in your child's behaviour or academic performance at school:- isn't going so well academically
- Speaking and interacting with them often. Depression leads its victim to isolate themselves from those around them. By making yourself available to your child to speak to and by engaging in conversation with your child, you are able to bring them out of their isolating behaviour. You can talk about the struggles they are experiencing, as well as any other subject that may be of interest to them.
- Do not be judgemental when speaking with your child. They already would have a negative opinion of themselves, by judging them, you may reinforce their negative self-perception which can make them feel worse.
- Give your child a daily routine of things they enjoy doing. Depression makes people stay in bed doing nothing. By isolating themselves and having nothing to do, depressed people are left with their thoughts. Because their thoughts are negative and self-critical, it makes their depression worse. Which is why they need a daily activity schedule which will take their focus out of their mind and into the world around them.
- Seek professional help. You can always speak with your GP about a Mental Healthcare Plan which will help your child recover.
- try to avoid the situation or issue they're worried about
- get headaches and stomach aches often, especially when away from home
- have trouble sleeping or have vivid nightmares
- worry often
- need a lot of reassurance
- want things to be perfect and get upset if they're not
- talk to your child about their fears and comfort them
- prevent exposure to their fears and triggers where possible
- encourage positive thinking
- help your child overcome their fears by slowly exposing them to what causes them anxiety
- seek professional help. You can always speak with your GP about a Mental Healthcare Plan which will help your child recover.
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/personal-best/pillar/supporting-others/how-to-support-your-anxious-childIt is important to note that your child does not have to display all of these signs to have depression of anxiety. If they display a few of these, there is a chance that they have fallen victim to these conditions.
Remember to enjoy your time with the kids, while also being vigilant for any signs of distress.