At a Glance: Signs of Depression in Your Grade-Schooler

By Peg Rosen

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If your grade-schooler is suffering from depression, there are things you can do to help. Explore some of the warning signs below and discuss what you’re seeing with your child’s doctor.

32Found this helpful
At a Glance: Signs of Depression in Your Grade-Schooler

Depression is more common in kids than you might think—especially among children with learning and attention issues. Here’s what you might be seeing in your grade-schooler if he’s struggling with this mood disorder.

Loss of Joyfulness
What it looks like: Your child used to love going to the playground after school. Now he just wants to go home and sit around.
Why it matters: Low energy, withdrawing from friends and losing interest in favorite activities are common signs of depression.

Unexplained Aches and Pains
What it looks like: Your child has been complaining about tummy aches for weeks. But the pediatrician can’t nd anything physically wrong with him.
Why it matters: Children are more likely than adults to show their depression through physical symptoms.

Increased Irritability
What it looks like: Your son strikes out in the first inning of his baseball game. He slams the bat on the ground, says “this game stinks,” and insists on going home.
Why it matters: When they’re depressed, kids can be crankier and quicker to anger than usual. Irritability is actually a more common symptom of depression than just seeming sad.

Loss of Skills
What it looks like: You point out to your child that his shoe is untied. He says, “Me want Mommy to do it.”
Why it matters: Babyish behavior, forgetting skills, getting anxious about leaving parents, bedwetting and other forms of regression can all be warning signs of depression.

Changes in Daily Habits
What it looks like: You’ve made roast chicken and potatoes for dinner tonight—your child’s favorite. But he’s just pushing food around his plate—again.
Why it matters: Eating or sleeping less—or more—than usual is a common symptom of depression.
Graphic of At a glance: Signs of depression in grade school
Graphic of At a glance: Signs of depression in grade school

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About the Author

Portrait of Peg Rosen

Peg Rosen writes for digital and print, including ParentCenter, WebMD, Parents, Good Housekeeping and Martha Stewart.

Reviewed by

LPortrait of aura Tagliareni

Laura Tagliareni, Ph.D., is a pediatric neuropsychologist in New York City and a clinical instructor at NYU Langone Medical Center.

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