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Helping Your Child Manage Their Depression/Anxiety Related to Their Medical Diagnosis

Parental or caregiver support is crucial in the treatment of childhood depression and anxiety. While there is no quick solution, parents play a vital role in providing support and teaching healthy habits.

Establishing a daily routine can help reduce stress by creating structure and predictability. It is important to have a general outline for the day rather than a strict schedule, allowing room for free time. Additionally, incorporating a bedtime routine, such as winding down without electronics and engaging in relaxing activities like reading a short story, can improve sleep quality.

Children with depression often lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, which can worsen their condition. Scheduling enjoyable activities on a daily basis, such as playing games, cooking together, or having family movie nights, can be helpful. Depression may also cause a child to withdraw from socializing. It is important to provide opportunities for socialization by scheduling social activities, visits or phone calls.

Anxiety in children is characterized by intense fears and worries that may disrupt their daily life. While it is normal for children to feel anxious about life changes, it becomes problematic when it hinders their ability to lead a normal life. Teaching relaxation skills like deep breathing, mindfulness and progressive muscle relaxation can help your child manage anxiety and stress. Practicing these skills daily can yield the greatest benefit.

Some children may simply need someone to talk to. Incorporate a few minutes of daily conversation about your child’s day into your routine. The objective is to check in, ask how your child is doing, and understand what is happening in their world. It is important to listen without immediately giving advice, unless it is requested.

If your child’s symptoms of depression and/or anxiety persist, it is best to seek the assistance of a mental health professional. You can consult your child’s medical team or team social worker for recommendations on mental health services.