HOW TO HELP CHILDREN WITH MOOD DISORDERS
Suggestions from Eileen Schneider
PREDICT what the day will be like. If a child has art and gets worried about getting dirty, suggest wearing old jeans. ROUTINE after school. A child may find the same snack, sitting in the same place, watching the same show, very comforting and restorative.
SMALL STEPS To counter a “gloom and doom” attitude, suggest to a child that they try one small thing – invite a friend out to a movie or for ice cream.
BEDTIME RITUALS One tool for the child whose head is full of worries is “out of the head – onto the paper” where a child writes on an index card five things that causing worry and puts it in a shoebox. The idea is that the worries aren’t gone, but they are being put to rest for the night.
TRIGGERS Help them learn their triggers – if they become terribly upset looking at someone’s Instagram, delete it from their phone or limit looking at it to a few minutes.
OUTSIDE HELP Most children with mood disorders will benefit from working with a therapist who can help them develop coping strategies. Family therapy is also an important piece of treatment as the child’s disorder affects the entire family. Medication can be an important component of treating a mood disorder, which would be prescribed by a child psychiatrist or pediatrician.