Winter blues and children: what it is and how to fight the winter blues

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The arrival of the bad season does not always coincide with a good mood and happiness for the imminent arrival of Christmas. Indeed, for some it can represent a real emotional obstacle to be overcome, full of emotions. A sensation, that of winter melancholy, which also happens to younger age groups and adolescents. Winter Blues and children are closely related. In some cases, psychology understands it as a real disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which occurs just as winter approaches. Let's be clear.

Read also: How to teach the ABCs of emotions to children

In this article

  • Winter Blues and children: what it is
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder: What is it in Psychology
  • How to help children manage the Winter Blues, tips for parents

Winter Blues and children, what it is

When we talk about "blues" we generally mean a widespread malaise which becomes physiological for example in cases of baby blues, immediately after giving birth. A question of hormones, rather than actual post-partum depression. Under no circumstances should the "blues", especially when children are the victims of this mood, be ignored. Indeed, if as the bad season and winter progress, a gradual descent into a perennial bad mood is noted in the child or adolescent, there is a need to thoroughly investigate the reasons for this malaise. 

According to experts at the University of Southwestern whose opinions on the subject have been reported on, one way to understand if it is just a passing malaise or something more serious is to check that it does not affect children's behaviors. 

How to tell if it is Winter Blues? 

  • If at the beginning of the winter season, cyclical changes in the mood in children are noted
  • If this change in mood coincides with increased fatigue
  • If on the arrival of spring the child suddenly changes mood
  • If the malaise and bad mood do not change the habits and behaviors in the child's family

What does this bad mood depend on? For parents it can be useful to plumb the life of the child or young person in search of traumatic episodes that occurred during the winter period. Precisely from these episodes could originate the discomfort, even unconscious, that the lower age groups feel when the lower temperatures strike. While it is true that for some people building a nest, making it warm and welcoming is a good formula to better enjoy the winter, for many children the idea of ​​the arrival of Santa Claus is not always enough to change the mood. 

If children are small and the reasons for the Winter Blues are fleeting, environmental and above all they do not affect behaviors and inter-family relationships, parents must investigate and help the little one recognize his emotions. To prevent a seasonal bad mood from turning into something more serious, such as the Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, what is it in psychology

According to research from TheDaCare, about 10% of people in the world suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Data that also affect children and adolescents and that report a worsening of the Winter Blues in a real form depressants. Symptoms of this seasonal depression include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Persistence of the feeling of being unwell for more than 2 weeks
  • Less interest in sociability
  • Increased interest in eating carbohydrates
  • Less energy
  • Weight gain

But SAD can be beaten. In the book "Winter Blues: Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder" by Norman E. Rosenthal explains the reasons for this malaise but also the ways to get out of it. Although the causes are not known, often linked to an inner and psychological condition of the child, the boy or the adult, the experts agree that many researches such as "Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview of Assessment and Treatment Approaches", point to on causes related to sleep cycles and levels of melatonin altered.

In addition, several studies reported on Medicalnews have confirmed that the production of serotonin in winter decreases and that for this reason the feeling of good mood can give way to the darker one of malaise.

Distinguishing between Winter Blues and SAD is very important: in the first case it is a passing bad mood that parents, in case the victims were children or teenagers, can help to alleviate. In the second, it is good to investigate the causes more thoroughly, with the help of a therapist.

How to help children manage the Winter Blues, tips for parents

If you have spotted a hint of passing Winter Blues in your child, here are some tips to help them overcome the impasse and experience winter better.

  • Keep children active for example with games to play at home
  • Sun exposure: although in winter its light is less strong, it becomes very important for the child to maintain a "relationship" with the sun and its heat, perhaps with small outings in the snow or autumn leaves.
  • Outdoor activities: essential to find the good even in the winter season
  • Socialization activities: these are also important to keep the child well anchored to his social dimension
  • Make sure your baby sleeps well and doesn't miss important hours of sleep

Fonti per questo articolo: Southwestern University, Winter blues or something more serious?; Thedacare, "Children, Teens also Affected by Winter Blues"; Winter Blues: Norman E. Rosenthal, "Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder"; "Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview of Assessment and Treatment Approaches"; 

  • learning
  • emozioni
  • child psychology
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