sad girl

6 Effective Ways To Help A Child Cope With Feeling Sad

"It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine." -Winnie the Pooh

Seeing a sad child tugs at the heartstrings. Grown-ups usually want to step in with a quick fix so the tears turn into smiles again. However, an emotional state can be very complex, even for young people who don't seem ready to bear the burden of depression on their little shoulders. Also, sometimes the inability of a child to articulate why they are feeling so sad, especially when there is no explicable reason or event, can leave parents at a loss for how to help. Reading picture books about feeling sad is a good place to start. The characters can express what a child is feeling and open up a dialogue.

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How to Help a Sad Child

Some kids feel all the feels no matter what life throws their way. Trivial incidents can cause one child to spiral into a state of depression. On the other hand, another child may rebound from a significant setback in the blink of an eye. If your child leans more toward feeling especially sensitive, keep this advice in mind next time life throws a curveball.


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Listen with an open heart and mind.
Sensitive children may appear to be overreacting to a situation that doesn't necessarily seem sad. It could be something like a perceived slight on the playground, a dead animal (not a pet) on the side of the road, or a lost item that can easily be replaced. There could also be something more serious going on, like a relationship that is crossing boundaries and causing inner turmoil. Rather than dismiss these feelings as silly, parents need to listen, acknowledge, and validate a child's sadness. Sometimes the most important thing a child needs is to be heard.

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Give your child time and space to process sadness.
A good healthy dose of "alone time" can be the best medicine for a sad child. There is not a switch to turn off this emotional state. Dismissing or suppressing the feeling is not a healthy way for a child to develop emotional maturity. Instead, give your young ones the opportunity to work through it in a bedroom or quiet space, perhaps with some soothing music and solitude.

Identify some tools for kids to use when they are feeling blue.
Encourage your children to engage in some hobbies or activities to work through their grief. Coloring books, puzzles, art projects, music are non-stressful outlets for kids will are down in the dumps. Keep a supply around the house for when an unexpected emotional meltdown happens.

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Never underestimate the value of good sleep and a healthy diet.
A child's ability to rebound from sadness can be directly tied to their physical wellbeing. When kids are sleep deprived, they tend to be overly emotional and have difficulty restoring a balanced state of mind. The same is true for kids who are hungry or deprived of valuable nutrition, so the solution may be as easy as cooking a good, hearty meal. Consider reading books about eating healthy for some positive messaging about the value of good nutrition.

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Encourage lots of exercise.
And don't forget about the body's natural defense against sadness- endorphins! Encourage a child to take a jog around the block, a jump session on the trampoline, or a dip in the swimming pool. Physical activity is an excellent mood booster. Yoga books, for example, are an excellent introduction to a healthy form of movement, stretching, and strengthening that can boost a child's mood.

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Find a good child psychologist or therapist.
Do not hesitate to find an expert for your child who can assess the severity of sadness or depression and lay out a treatment plan, if necessary. Some kids seem only moderately depressed on the surface, but are suffering enormously underneath. But other children can wear all their emotions on their sleeves, so to speak, and are not suppressing a single mood or feeling. The trouble is that it is not always easy to figure out whether a child has a serious problem or not. Don't hesitate to find a professional who can help evaluate the situation and determine if therapy sessions will help.


sad girl


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