Do you believe your toddler is suffering from depression? Has their behavior changed drastically for the worst, or is their activity level different from normal? Though it is rare, depression in toddlers does occur. It’s possible to determine whether depression has developed in your toddler if you see any signs of the following symptoms:
Is your toddler sad for extended periods?
Sadness, at times, is normal for toddlers. After all, they’re not going to be happy all the time. They might have broken a toy, or a playmate might have hurt their feelings. Anything could have happened to make them feel sad for a little while. However, if your toddler is sad for an extended period, it’s probably time to check into whether they have developed depression.
Has there been a change in your toddler’s appetite?
Toddlers usually have a very good appetite. Their bodies are still developing and growing. Therefore, they need sufficient sustenance to maintain. I’m sure your toddler is no exception. Further, they could have off days where they eat more or less than others. They are not always going to be hungry. However, should their appetite change dramatically from their normal, depression might the cause.
Is your toddler socially withdrawn or disinterested in making friends?
Your toddler might experience times where they don’t want to play or be part of the crowd. They might be having a bad day because they didn’t get to eat what they wanted for breakfast. Or, they didn’t get to play their favorite game. They are not going to be the “life of the party” all the time. However, usually, toddlers are happy to participate with others and show great interest in wanting to make friends. If they are not, depression should be considered.
Does your toddler cry for no reason?
Crying is typically part of a toddler’s lifestyle. They could have fallen when they were playing. They wanted something different to eat for lunch. It could be a plethora of things. However, the crying usually occurs for a reason. If it does not, and you notice your toddler crying more often than not, depression could be likely.
Does your toddler have low energy?
Typically, toddlers have high energy. They normally have so much energy that they’ll wear you out and still have energy left over. Most of the time, toddlers don’t tire out until the end of the day. Even then, it might be hard for them to settle down. Yet, if you notice that they have fatigue and are not interested in doing anything, depression might be the cause.
Is your toddler having difficulty concentrating?
It usually doesn’t take much for toddlers to become distracted. After all, their minds are still developing. Despite this, they are still at the point where they can learn and retain information. Usually, the typical toddler is happy to be able to learn. They are at the age where they want to experience and obtain new things. However, if their difficulty of concentrating is severe or lasting over an extended period, depression should be considered as a possible cause.
Does your toddler participate in morbid play or ever have thoughts of suicide?
When toddlers play, they usually indulge in games that they enjoy, that they can participate in with their friends, etc. However, do you notice if they ever act out scenes of suicide or death? Does their play center around morbid themes? If so, death could be on their mind and be a contributing symptom in the depression they are experiencing.
Does your toddler experience anxiety?
Anxiety or worry in your toddler can be a significant symptom of depression. Toddlers should be happy for the most part and not have the burden of worry about anything. If they do seem to have worries on their mind, it’s probably a sign that depression is probably starting.
Does your toddler show signs of irritability?
Is your toddler mean or seem bothered by something? Do they always have a bad attitude or seem to snap at other toddlers or adults that are around? Irritability could be a sign of depression coming or already existing.
Does depression run in your family?
Does depression run in your family? Are other family members affected? If so, your toddler could always be exposed to depression and its causes. It would be hard for them to see any other perspective if their environment was always the same. These are important to consider because, if your toddler is around depression, they can develop depression from being around others that have it.
Does your toddler experience irrational outbursts?
Is your toddler’s mood or behavior negative, especially towards others? Do they say good words or lash out when speaking to others? Are they moody and agitated and sensitive to rejection? Toddlers sometimes hurt each other’s feelings. Many times this is not intentional, but it still happens. Does your toddler take these rejections to heart? These can be cause for concern, especially if these outbursts are beginning to affect others. Possible bouts of depression will want to be the cause.
Is your toddler not able to experience joy?
There are many instances where your toddler can experience joy and happiness. Happiness with their friends, their play, their family, etc. However, are they not able to experience joy for some reason? Do they not feel happiness in certain situations that, otherwise, would be enjoyable? If they are not able to be happy or joyful, depression could be the cause of their inability to be happy.
Does your toddler have another behavioral disorder?
Is your toddler experiencing another behavioral disorder that could further complicate or cause depression to surface? Many times, the onset of ADHD or disorders similar to depression have often set in with your toddler. Further, because the symptoms are similar, they’ve masked the depression that your child is experiencing. Your toddler must be evaluated for depression, along with the other disorder that is occurring.