HOW TO HELP CHIL­DREN WITH MOOD DIS­OR­DERS

Sug­ges­tions from Eileen Sch­nei­der

201 Family - - SPECIAL PARENT -

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.

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