Monday, September 30th, 2013

How Do You Quiet a Child’s Mind and Prevent Depression?

Depression in kids and quieting the mind (c) Carmen Cordovez-

My dad’s father killed himself when my dad was a child. My dad has fought with depression all his life. Depression has run on my dad’s side of the family for generations, particularly with the men. I usually forget about this until my son asks me questions like, “Why is it that I cannot switch my mind off? I want to stop my mind from thinking.”  I know that is a common question of a seven-year-old with an inquisitive mind, but given our family history, I’m always extra sensitive to those type of questions.




My son is a very deep person.  I remember when he was five and I felt sad after dropping him at his first day of school in kinder. He told me, “Mama don’t be sad, that is how life is, we have to grow.”


We went to visit my husband’s dad, who lives in Hanover, New Hampshire, on our way back from Ecuador. While we were driving to my father-in-law’s, my son posed the question about how could he stop his mind from thinking.  At that moment, I just acknowledge the fact that the mind indeed never stops thinking. Later on and thanks to our visit to my husband’s dad, I was able to give him a better response.




My father-in-law is a veterinarian who has an intense love of nature and animals. He also loves to exercise and runs, hikes, rows or even sometimes goes berry picking (as a day laborer, though he doesn’t need the money of it) as a form of exercise.  I was a bit nervous to see him at his place, as we had not gone to visit him for a couple of years. Once I got there though, there was no time for nervousness, as he took us hiking, fishing, to visit organic farms, to see how glass objects are made and one night, while staying at a fishing cabin on a gorgeous lake, he even showed the kids how Native Americans used to make smoke signals.  He also took us on one of his favorite activities: berry picking, where he doesn’t just grab a couple of berries but fills a couple of buckets full of them.




While in charge of filling one of the buckets with my son, who really got into finding the darkest blueberries to put in the bucket, a better answer to my son’s question came to my mind.  We were feeling so Zen and after a couple of hours of walking and berry picking, I was able to tell him, “Remember when you asked me how you can stop your mind from thinking? We can’t stop it, but when we don’t want it to think about something we don’t like, we can redirect it. I bet your mind is probably just thinking about how to find the berries you are looking for right?”  I was also able to explain to him that running is so important for me because not only do I keep in shape like that, but because I‘m able to control my thoughts better when I run.


Depression is a hard issue to deal with and I know in many cases it takes more than running to overcome. Our visit to grandpa in New Hampshire was very inspiring. I cannot prevent depression from ever happening to my kids or myself, but hopefully we can do enough activities that could teach us to find peace within.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:

Why African Toddlers Don't Have Tantrums

The secret of why African babies don't meltdown like Western ones.

Don’t Touch My Child! Lessons from Asia

Has the West taken fear too far?

Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan

Colleague drank your breast milk from the work fridge again? Tales of breastfeeding in Mongolia

10 Best World Maps for Your Children’s Room

Because every little global citizen needs a map


Born to a large family in Quito, Ecuador, Carmen Cordovez went to bilingual Spanish/English school from kindergarten through high school. Her childhood was happily spent going to the beach and riding horses during the summer. She studied and worked in advertising in Ecuador, before moving to Brazil to study computer science. She then moved to San Francisco and worked as a database administrator for Oracle, followed by a start-up. She has always loved traveling, and before having kids, traveled as much as she could to places like India, Burma, Turkey and more. Since having her two American-Ecuadorian kids, she spends her time raising her children, creating art, traveling and doing occasional consulting projects. Her children are currently fourth and first graders in a Mandarin immersion school and are able to communicate in Mandarin. They are also fluent in Spanish and English. She happily spends her summers on a yearly pilgrimage to Ecuador (or other Spanish speaking countries) to visit family for her children’s bicultural/bilingual experience. Carmen blogs at about her experiences traveling.

Leave us a comment!

  1. CommentsRachael   |  Monday, 30 September 2013 at 10:22 am

    Love this post. It’s very helpful. What lucky children to have such a wonderful grandfather.

  2. CommentsMary   |  Thursday, 03 October 2013 at 4:46 am

    Thank you for this article. Ever since puberty, I found that I was prone to depression, always thinking and not knowing how to switch that off. Exactly as your son states, you realize it’s all in your head, you see other people thinking less and living more happily and you would do anything to get out of your own mind and be like them. I’ve jokingly said I should get a lobotomy in order to achieve a balance!
    The answer really is in physical activity. Let the body rule, and not the mind!
    I noticed that any physical activity completely lifts me up and makes me feel more alive and happy. I mean really anything with a purpose, but gardening and going on bike rides or walks have got to be some of the top activities which keep me in touch with reality. I’ve heard that for other people, having a pet to look after also helps.
    I also have to be aware when I am “over-reading” or “in a book slump” as my children call it. It means I am mentally running away instead of staying in reality. Nothing wrong with reading as long as you can avoid getting too “broody”. I suspect many people deal with this. We have to enjoy life via the 5 senses, thus reining (and reigning!) our minds. Thanks again.

  3. CommentsKristen   |  Sunday, 06 October 2013 at 8:55 am

    There is a whole body of books to teach mindfulness and meditation to children. I just got one called Moody Cow Meditates and my 7 year old loves it! It is a story that kids can totally relate to with a simple fun technique to help kids settle their mind- simply awesome! My daughter has a very busy mind and often struggles with her thoughts and she was happy to try this!

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!

A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
[…] in their homes even if the US is an anomaly. Here are two articles on co-sleeping (click here and here) and one “Dear Abby” (click […...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Hi...I am an Asian who was adopted and raised by Caucasian American missionaries in South America. I have two kids-my daughter is 16 and my son is 11. When I had my first baby I too was indoctrinate...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
This Karina, the Karina from the article. I'm now 13. It took this article was written 3 years ago and barely coming across it right now. I was originally trying to look for my folkloric pictures fo...
From How This Single Working Mom Raised a Trilingual Kid
Nice recipe, thank for shari...
From Vaisakhi Recipe: Sarson Ka Sag
I've been in Germany Ten years now, Lived in Frankfurt and Stuttgart, specifically Leonberg. In Frankfurt I was shocked by how unfriendly the People were, how aggressive their Drivers, but in Leonbe...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
At DreamAfrica, we are a streaming app for animations and films from around the world. We celebrate cultural representation in digital media and invite you to download and share our DreamAfrica appp...
From What We Are Not About
Imagine those people who work at your typical IT Department, yeah those weirdos with low EQ, no manners, no social skills; indeed those who kiss the bosses' ass when it's convenient, but get offend...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I contacted the editor of this magazine (Stephanie) and she told me she'd inform Jan about this article. I have since changed my mind about going to Germany because of Merkel's policies, and this i...
From Are Germans Really Rude?

More from Our Bloggers