October is recognized as Depression Education and Awareness Month, but any parent with a child who suffers from depression knows that kids need support year round.

Dr. James Foley, author of Magination Press’s book, Danny and the Blue Cloud: Coping with Childhood Depression, offers these insights and tips for parents supporting children who suffer from depression.

Four ways to increase your child’s positive thinking

Depression is often characterized by negative and/or distorted thinking. You may notice your child more frequently engaging in negative self-talk such as, “I’m a dummy” or “I can never do this.” Such statements may indicate a pattern of negative thinking. Here are a few tips to begin the process of positive change:

  • Set the stage for positive thinking through movement. Engage in a physical activity that your child enjoys on a regular schedule, especially when your child appears “down.” Exercise elevates mood.

  • Help your child think about the good things and not just the bad things. For example, involve your child in creating an electronic or paper collage filled with their wonderful qualities.

  • Help your child think about what he or she can do and not what he or she can’t do. Make a list of your child’s positive accomplishments. Point out your child’s achievements, even small ones:  “You were a big help emptying the dishwasher today.”

  • Model positive self-talk for your child: “I am really happy and proud that I finished all my work today.”

Fostering small positive changes in the way your child thinks and acts can help them change the negative thinking that often accompanies depression.

These tips are from James Foley, DEd, author of Magination Press’s book, Danny and the Blue Cloud: Coping with Childhood Depression.

by James Foley, DEd

This Article's Author

James M. Foley, DEd, is a licensed psychologist who has recently retired from his private practice in Maine. He has served as a clinical director and member of a community mental health center children's service team and has extensive experience as a school psychologist and child and family therapist. He now resides in Sonoma County, CA, in close proximity to his two adult children and serves as psychological consultant to a local school district.

Related Books from Magination Press

  • Danny and the Blue Cloud: Coping with Childhood Depression

    James Foley, DEd

    Danny was born under a blue cloud. He didn’t know why, but sometimes the cloud made him cry. Some days he didn’t want to get out of bed. Some days he was one big GROWL!

    With the help of Barnaby the rabbit, Danny learns to think more helpful thoughts, feel better about himself, and dance his way into a better mood! He practices Barnaby’s “Feel-Good Rules” until his cloud turns lighter and brighter.

    Eventually, Danny learns that he has the power to turn even the biggest, bluest cloud into a beautiful rainbow!

    Includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers with more information about childhood depression and strategies to support your child’s treatment.