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We often think of sadness as an adult problem.
Yet, according to the CDC, 7.1% of children are diagnosed with anxiety and 3.2% of them are diagnosed with depression.
Helping your kid understand their sadness is hard enough. Helping them get past it can be even harder.
Read on to find out how to help a sad child
When you don’t know why your child is feeling sad, it can become frustrating. However, you should limit your frustration around them so they don’t feel that their sadness is a burden.
Give them plenty of room to open up about their sadness. Encourage them to express their feelings and remind them that you are happy to talk it out with them. When they give you glimpses into their minds, try to put yourself in their shoes.
A child’s problems may seem small or insignificant to you, but remember how you felt about the little things at that age. Expressing that you understand how they’re feeling is a good way to validate their feelings. Make sure you provide validation before explaining to them that their feelings (and the events causing them) will pass.
Teach Positive Coping Mechanisms to Your Sad Child
If you notice that your child is always sad, pay close attention to their mannerisms and habits. Are they turning too far inward or picking up habits that may be harmful? There’s a good chance that they don’t recognize what they’re doing and don’t know of alternative coping mechanisms.
A good coping mechanism involves acknowledgment, grounding, and creating calmness or joy.
In other words, teach your sad child to address their sadness and seek help when they need it. Then, teach them grounding techniques such as muscle relaxation or deep breathing that will help them step out of their minds and into a safer physical and mental space. Finally, teach them how to make themselves feel less sad without resorting to harmful behaviors or repression.
Create Opportunities for Fun
If your child seems like they’re always sad, it is likely situational. They may be having a hard time at school or with their friends.
One way to help them break out of this cycle of sadness is to create more opportunities for fun! Having something to look forward to and creating positive memories during a hard time can change the way we think and feel.
Plan small outings for the weekend while also planning a bigger trip for the future. Make sure you include your child in this process. While surprises are fun, you want to build up the excitement and anticipation in the present and start counting down to your vacation!
For example, what could be more fun than taking an international trip and visiting Angry Birds Activity Park? It’s hard to be sad when you see your favorite game and movie characters come to life!
Focus on the Positive
If you have a sad child, it’s important to empathize and help them learn how to cope with their sadness. It’s also important not to let them dwell on the negative for too long!
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