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It’s not just adults who need help to manage stress, or unplug from our minds
and emotions. Kids need help too – perhaps even more so, as they come up
against challenges, difficult feelings or pressures for the first time.
Whether your child is feeling anxious, is finding it hard to sleep, or is having
difficulty handling big emotions, these apps can help. They offer a range of useful tools and practises that will help them face life’s curve balls, from gratitude journaling, to mindfulness techniques and tactics to diffuse the worst tantrum.
Brought to you by the same team behind Headspace, Headspace for Kids works on the premise that teaching children how meditate from a young age can help set them up for life. The sessions are designed for every stage, from toddler up to teen, and parents can do the exercises with their children. These are grouped thematically into Calm, Focus, Kindness, Sleep and Wake Up and include visualisations, soothing sounds and breathing exercises. The app aims to help kids be calm and focussed, as well as wind down and sleep better. It’s free to try for a couple of weeks and then moves on to a subscription service at either £9.99 a month or £4.17 a month for an annual subscription.
This one introduces your child to mindfulness, via a series of meditations or
“stories”. It engages children with the idea through a “flibbertigibbet”, a cute
purple blob that they have to try to keep happy by petting in a calming motion. The idea behind the award-winning app is to teach kids how to respond to stressful situations through play, which will stand them in good stead for future
(or current) life stresses. It’s suitable for children aged four and above and available at the app store only for iPhone and iPad.
Breathe, Think, Do With Sesame
This free app teaches children how to use their breath to calm down, problem
solve, find self-control and plan. The aim of the game is to help a blue monster calm down from frustrating situations by taking deep breaths; for example, struggling to tie his shoelaces or separation anxiety. Kids help the monster calm down and then work through his problem by choosing a solution, which they watch him try out in an animated clip. There’s a parent section too with tips and help. Available on iPhone, iPod and Android.
Three Good Things: A Happiness Journal
This is a journaling app that teaches children how to cultivate gratitude. Kids write down three good things that happened to them that day, which, by focusing on the positives, hopes to make them happier. They can track their progress and set a reminder so they don’t forget. It’s free and available on iOS.
Super Stretch Yoga
This app teaches kids how to do 12 different, animal-inspired yoga poses. Each
pose is taught by a short animation, led by a caped superhero called Super
Stretch. This is followed by video of children attempting the pose and an
explanation of how to do it. Kids can choose a particular pose or do them in order. Reminders to breathe are given throughout. Super Stretch is free and available on iOS.
This app is a visual and audio tool to help kids calm down when they are angry
or anxious. It opens with the “I need a break screen”, which transforms into a
red, angry face icon with the number 10. Each tap makes the icon calmer and
counts backward from 10. This is followed by a deep breath. It also includes a story about anger and explanations of things that can help you to calm down. It was designed for kids with autism and would be helpful for any child feeling strong emotions. Works with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Stop, Breathe & Think Kids
This kids’ version of the popular app for teens and grown ups, is aimed at 5-10
year olds. It features 15 meditation videos called “missions”, which are grouped
into seven categories: Quiet, Focus, Caring, Connecting, Energising, Meltdown, Open Mind and Sleep. Children can either show how they’re feeling by emojis or they can pick a mission to complete. Available on iPhone and iPad.
Scape is an ambient music creation app, by composers Brian Eno and Peter
Chilvers. It generates music from shapes, colours, and textures that form a visual palette. These elements react to each other to make different sound scapes, which can be shared with others. The process and result is very meditative and relaxing. It’s not designed specifically for kids, but it has universal appeal. Available only on iPad.
Let’s Create! Pottery
This app soothes and encourages creativity by letting children spin a virtual
pottery wheel. Not quite the tactile experience of the real thing, but they can tap
and press the screen to mould the clay as it turns and put it in a kiln to harden
and decorate it afterwards. They can even have a go at trying to copy a piece of
artwork. It’s relaxing and offers a good diversion from stress or big emotions.
Available on iPad, Android and Kindle Fire.
Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories
This BAFTA award-winning app is designed to help kids who find it hard to
sleep. It uses over 40 hours of soothing audio sleep stories, meditations, music
and sounds to help little listeners drift off into the land of nod. It boasts an all
star cast of narrators, including Goldie Hawn, Brian Blessed and Patrick Stewart. It comes recommended by sleeps experts and doctors alike. Dreamy lullabies, rhyming journeys, cute characters and mindfulness cues will take the stress out of bedtime. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
This is an app aimed at children with anxiety, specifically five-year-olds and
above. It encourages to leave their worries behind, with the help of Manny the
Manatee, who takes them through visualisations and breathing exercises.
Children are asked to name their emotion and how strong it is. Then they must
choose whether to release a worry or receive a joy; with the former, a virtual
bubble floats away and with the latter, a bubble comes towards them. If your
child can’t write yet, they will need your help. Compatible with iOS.
Sleep Meditations For Kids
This is a children’s bedtime app, from leading yoga and Montessori teacher,
Christiane Kerr. It uses story mediations with relaxing sound effects and music. It helps children with sleep issues, insomnia, stress and anxiety and promotes
relaxation and well being. Lovely graphics and a mellifluous voice mean it’s sure
to soothe. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
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