Are teens and children affected by SAD as the winter draws in?

There is now a growing body of evidence to support what we all know – that many of us feel worse during the winter. This is known as seasonal affective disorder but the question is, do our youngsters get it, how do we know and what do we do about it?

Although less is known about children/teens and SAD, it is clear to clinicians that teens and children can be affected. They may complain more of being bored or having nothing to do. Some may be nervous to go out after dark, which at this time of year can mean that they are stuck in more and, in turn, may have a negative effect upon their mood.

If you notice that your youngster seems flat or lacking in motivation, try not to judge or criticise them. Rather, understand the phenomenon and open up a discussion with them about how they feel. Recognise that it can be important to plan a bit more in the winter. Structure at the weekend can be particularly important – something to look forward to which may need parental planning (depending upon the age of the youngster).

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Suggest ideas and offer to share the funding with other parents – even if it is for a movie night in with friends. If your youngster appears significantly low or their behaviour has changed and perhaps they are sharing less with you, you could consider an assessment with a psychologist to see if they can help.

Emma Citron an official JDoc365 Affiliate and a Consultant Clinical Psychologist. For more information, visit www.citronpsychology.co.uk.