5 Steps to Consider When Parenting Kids with Depression and Anxiety

A big teddy bear hugging a smaller teddy bear

“I wish parenting came with a handbook.” How often have you heard these words? Or even said them yourself? This is especially the case when parenting a child who experiences any range of mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression often show up physically and emotionally, which can lead to many challenges for our kids. As parents, we want the best for our children. So, when we see them struggling, we want nothing more than to be able to help them back to a happy, healthy place.

Symptoms will vary for each child, but there are common signs that you can look for, like trouble sleeping, constant stomach pains, change in appetite, excessive worry, self-isolation, or trouble maintaining friendships.

Steps to Take to Support Your Child

Although we can’t always solve our children’s mental health challenges, we can still provide essential help and support. But where do you start? Some of the following steps may help:

  1. Check in with your child’s physician regarding your concerns to rule out any medical conditions.
  2. Chat with your child to see if they are having friendship or academic problems at school.
  3. Consider what their exposure to social media looks like. Delaying exposure until a later age is ideal. If your child is already using social media, note that more than an hour a day can be harmful.
  4. Take note of their daily routines. Are they active, eating well, getting enough sleep?
  5. Seek support. If the challenges feel beyond your scope or you are not sure where to turn, consider seeking out support from your doctor or your child’s school.

For support and resources on depression and anxiety, we encourage you to explore Learn to Live.  This is available to Medicaid Expansion members at no cost. Start here to complete a brief assessment and from there you can enroll in one of seven programs.