Unhappy toddlers may become anxious or withdrawn.
Growing up can be a tough job. Between learning how to walk, crawl and talk, problems may surface that can cause children to become unhappy. Life circumstances like a divorce or birth can contribute to depression in children. More benign problems, like trouble sleeping or a lack of exercise, can also prompt a growing frown. Take comfort, Mom and Dad -- while you cannot change all circumstances contributing to Junior's unhappiness, you can help him better cope with changes in his life.
1Figure out what is contributing to your child's unhappiness. Did his moods start to shift after a specific incident? Does he become withdrawn or anxious at certain times, like when he must get ready for preschool or when a deceased relative is discussed? Keep notes of when you notice the changes. If your son can talk, try asking him what is bothering him.
2Create a plan of action to relieve your child's unhappiness. Arrange for play dates with your daughter's preschool classmates, start spending more time with her or give her some age-appropriate responsibilities as a new big sister. Be honest about life changes, such as a divorce, but keep mum about any anger or resentment you feel toward your ex. Instead, explain her new living arrangements and offer to pick out items for her new room to help relieve any unhappiness she may feel.
3Keep the lines of communication open -- encourage your son to hug you or talk to you when he feels down about something. Pick out activities you can do together to shake up the daily routine, like going to the park or building a snowman. Be your son's biggest supporter as he learns and grows, Mom -- provide plenty of encouragement and support. Showing confidence in his ability to handle problems or changing circumstances can increase his self esteem, which can protect him from depression.
4Seek a pediatrician's assistance if you feel your child's unhappiness is not improving, or if she starts to become more unhappy.
- Occasional unhappiness is a normal emotional reaction. Encourage your child to embrace his feelings, but speak to a pediatrician if your child's unhappiness lingers for more than several days.