SAD in ChildrenJan 6th, 2011 | By Sharee Anne | Category: Lead Article, Parenting
As I’ve been doing research about Season Affective Disorder (SAD) or “Winter Blues” I’ve come to realize how common it is and that so many people just live with it unaware that their life could be made better. I was especially touched when reading about children. Sometimes it is hard to figure out what they are feeling, physically and mentally. It’s hard to know how to help them or how to figure out what the underlying cause of their behavior may be.
The cause may be SAD or the “Winter Blues”. The problem is that it is so hard to recognize.
Common symptoms are:
- Feeling tired
- Increase in craving for junk food
- Stomach aches
- Temper tantrums
- Slipping grades
- Unable to focus
- Stop doing chores
Looking at this list I think what child doesn’t manifest these symptoms at some time. How do you know it isn’t just a phase they are going through? Is it stress at school? Are they trying to avoid something or someone? Are they just being lazy?
I think the key to figuring out if they have SAD is: They become this way each year around Fall and it continues through the Winter. For Spring and Summer they go back to their normal self, but once fall comes the symptoms listed above come back.
In the book, Winter Blues, a few stories are shared about children:
“Michael, a twelve-year-old swimming champion, had swim times that invariably deteriorated during the winter and improved during the summer. Susan, an eight-year-old with long flowing blond hair and a wistful gaze, had suffered from pronounced seasonal rhythms since infancy. Her parents noticed marked difference between her sleep length during the short summer nights, when she waked up with the first rays of the sun, and during the long winter nights, when she would sleep for hours and hours. Her problems began in nursery school, when teachers noticed that she would withdraw from friends and be uninterested in the usual routine of daily activities during January and February.”
If your child is showing these symptoms it may be something to check out. They may just need a little extra sunlight or perhaps they do need some professional help. A good starting point may be reading a book on SAD.