Kids can express a plethora of scary or worrisome behavior, so it may seem difficult to differentiate which signs are red flags and signal that you need to pay closer attention. There are, however, little habits that are subtle signs of anxiety or depression in kids that you don't even realize, that can help you differentiate whether your child is just going through a phase, or showing signs of general unhappiness. Knowing the signs of depression or anxiety can give you some peace of mind and help you get the help your little one needs to deal with his struggles.
According to Parenting, "[The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry] (AACAP) estimates that as many as one in 20 children and adolescents is depressed." Keep in mind a struggle with sadness or anxiety from an isolated situation that warrants it doesn't automatically mean you need to worry about anxiety or depression. Instead, observe signs and behaviors over time. If they persist, and start to interrupt everyday activities, friendships, or family life, they could point to a bigger struggle.
Knowing the signs is key to early intervention, especially considering that treatments for childhood depression and anxiety are much more complex, according to Parenting. Additionally, children with depression often deal with other problems, like anxiety, conduct disorders, and more, according to Baby Center's interview with chief psychologist Nadine J. Kaslow. So, if you notice some of the signs here continue over time or seem to compound other problems, reach out to your healthcare provider to figure out your next steps.