Your child’s grades are dropping
Childhood depression makes it hard to keep focused, which could make it hard for your child to listen to a teacher or stay on task with homework. If your typically stellar student is suddenly getting lower grades than usual, you might want to examine what else is going on. “A lot complain about loss of attention and concentration, not feeling blue,” says John Walkup, MD, director of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. “They get confused and have to do stuff over and over again—they feel like their mind’s not working right.”
Your child sleeps in but is still tired
Teens are known for sleeping late, but an uncharacteristic change in sleep habits can be on of the depression symptoms to watch for. Some children will want to spend their entire afternoons napping, and people with depression will often wake up early and won’t be able to get back to sleep. Their sleep isn’t restorative, meaning no matter how much they snooze, they still feel exhausted the next day. That fatigue can get in the way of children’s academic and social lives, says Lynne Siqueland, PhD, psychologist at the Children’s and Adult Center for OCD & Anxiety in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania and member Public Education Committee for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. “Usually, the kids or teens report feeling tired, or the impact of sleep becomes apparent,” she says. “They’re late or missing things, or not doing homework because they’re sleeping in the afternoon. It impairs how they’re living.” Here are more warning signs of depression to know.