Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Signs Your Child's Lonely; MANY CHILDREN FEEL ALONE - HERE'S HOW TO SPOT THE TELLTALE SIGNS AND HELP THEM, BY LISA SALMON

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Signs Your Child's Lonely; MANY CHILDREN FEEL ALONE - HERE'S HOW TO SPOT THE TELLTALE SIGNS AND HELP THEM, BY LISA SALMON

Article excerpt

Byline: LISA SALMON

LONELINESS isn't only felt by older people - around 60% of parents worry their child is lonely too. And research suggests they might be right. One study of pre-school children found more than one in 10 say they're lonely and unhappy with their social relationships, and other research concluded one in five children aged seven to 12 also feel lonely.

In addition, four out of five adolescents report similar feelings, with almost a third describing the experience as 'persistent and painful'.

The charity Action for Children has published a report on loneliness in children, young people and families, and says there are clear links between loneliness in young people and poor mental and physical health, and lower academic attainment.

Sir Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of Action for Children, says: "We know how loneliness can impact on lives - from a toddler who seldom meets people because of her mother's anxiety, to young carers with no time to make friends with people their own age.

There is a role for each and every one of us in addressing loneliness in our communities."

With the help of mental health charity YoungMinds, Action for Children has come up with some tips for parents to not only spot the signs of loneliness, but to help their kids deal with it too.

SIGNS TO LOOK OUT FOR EVEN if a child doesn't say they're lonely you may pick up signs, for example if they: | ALWAYS come out of school alone; | AREN'T invited on play dates; | DON'T go out with friends or have them round; | SEEM to have a cloud over their head and sigh a lot; | SAY they feel sad or depressed, and | SPEND a lot of time by themselves or in their room - although, remember some children are content to spend a lot of time alone, while others may be part of a large social circle but still feel lonely.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOUR CHILD IS LONELY | TALK to your child. Show an interest in their friends and relationships.

Talk to them about what healthy friendships are and ask them how they feel about their friendships. …

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