Homework HelpSAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) can affect children as well as adults. People commonly talk about having the 'winter blues' and many of us prefer sunny days to grayer ones, so how do you know that your child is actually suffering from SAD? KidsHealth.org says, "The symptoms of SAD are the same as those of depression, but occur during a specific time of year." When winter arrives and the days get shorter, some people exhibit signs of depression and their mood and energy level drop but these feelings leave when spring arrives. Less sunlight can result in a person producing more melatonin (which helps you sleep) and less serotonin (which can lead to depression.

A child experiencing SAD may not want to socialize, being to isolate him or herself and have feelings of sadness that may affect academic performance. It takes careful observation and the help of experts to make a diagnosis of SAD. Having a few bad days in the winter does not mean a child has SAD. However, if over time, you notice a shift in your child during the winter months, you may want to consult an expert.

Here are some recommendations for parenting a child diagnosed with SAD:

  • Partner with your doctor to get your child the help he/she needs: Make sure that you understand SAD and look for solutions that work for your family.
  • Give an age-appropriate explanation of SAD: You don’t want to overwhelm your child with too much technical information.
  • Try to get your child to spend time outdoors: There is less daylight in the winter months but there is still some time when your child can spend time in the sun.
  • Spend quality time with your child and help with homework: You child may need a little extra TLC during the wintertime so try to find ways to bond with him or her.