LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: Identifying and fixing seasonal affective disorder in kids.

For short, pediatricians call it SAD. It’s a mood disorder or type of depression that usually happens in the fall and winter. According to doctors from Parents.com… seasonal affective disorder isn’t just about feeling down. It can also involve other symptoms like:

  • Low energy and motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • Losing interest in their favorite activities
  • Avoiding friends or family
  • Experiencing feelings of hopelessness.

Experts still aren’t sure what causes seasonal affective disorder. Doctors from Stanford’s School of Medicine say, shorter days and less sunlight can disrupt levels of serotonin and melatonin, which can cause kids to be more susceptible to seasonal depression. Nevertheless, parents, if you suspect symptoms of SAD in your kids – there are things you can do to help, before needing to reach out to a physician that include:

  • Get your kids outdoors, ideally when the sun is shining, but even if it’s cloudy.
  • Exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block
  • Eating healthier.
  • Playing games
  • Cuddling on the couch and watching a show or movie
  • Reading a book together

Pediatricians say, the time to reach out to a medical professional about SAD is when your child’s mood doesn’t seem to get better even after trying some of these at-home solutions, and it starts to interfere with their day-to-day life.