So what is a parent to do with an unmotivated, depressed child over the summer break? Here are three tips:
1. Create a schedule
Many children rely on their school schedule to keep them going. When summer rolls around, many kids find it difficult to get motivated without a set routine. Mark the calendar with trips, camps, and appointments. Keep track of daily chores. Mark play dates or visits with friends. Set the calendar in a visible location and encourage your child check it daily.
2. Invite a friend
Although depressed youth may say that they don't want to be on a team or visit a friend, studies show that once they are in a social situation, they tend to join in and have a good time. Ask your child who he/she would like to hang out with and schedule a date with that person. If your child doesn't want to leave home, invite the friend over for the day or for a sleep-over. Encouraging your child to be social is the goal.
3. Plan fun activities
Keeping busy is a great way to combat depression. Find out about local camps, clubs and activities, or create your own with your child's friends or neighbors. Ask your child for suggestions, so he/she feels empowered in the decision-making. Plan at least one activity a week (and mark it on the calendar!) so your child has something to look forward to.
Depression in children can be frustrating and difficult to manage, but these tips along with healthy nutrition, sleep, exercise and emotional support can help combat the summertime blues.