Keep emotions cool with stress-reducing apps for kids
Published: July 26, 2021
By: Tanni Haas, Ph.D.
August is National Wellness Month, a great occasion to teach your kids how to cope with life’s big and small stressors. One way is to encourage them to download an app — or three. Below are some kid-friendly, stress-reducing apps, and the best part is that they’re all free.
Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Street
This colorful app teaches kids how to relax so that they can better cope with common, everyday stressful situations. Divided into five interactive scenarios, kids help Cookie Monster take deep breaths, come up with plans for addressing these stressful situations, and then try out those plans. It includes a useful section with additional strategies and resources for parents to teach kids how to solve everyday challenges.
This app teaches kids how to relax their minds with guided meditations, visualizations and affirmations through calming, positive messages. There are some issue-specific meditations that some kids might find particularly useful, including meditations aimed at building confidence before sports matches and focusing on their schoolwork.
This app enhances kids’ emotional intelligence by offering more than 100 short, simple, dictionary-style definitions of common emotions, each accompanied by a unique emoticon. It helps kids develop a richer, more expansive vocabulary of emotions, and it teaches them how to deal with those emotions so that they don’t become overwhelmed by their feelings. Kids can create and add their own emoticons for feelings that aren’t included in the app.
Available at: Apple Appstore, Google Play; Age range: 5-18
This app is designed to help kids get a good, relaxing start to their day. It functions like an alarm clock and has more than 30 soothing, nature-inspired sounds to wake your kids up slowly and gently in the morning. The app can be used in the afternoon and evening, too, using the nap and a sleep timer function, for a stress-free end to their day.
Like Nature Melody, this app gives kids a soothing start and finish to their day, with more than 50 relaxing sounds and melodies. It has several other features, including the ability to create unique mixes by combining sounds and melodies, a collection of community tunes that represent the most popular mixes, and a number of accompanying meditations.
Super Stretch Yoga
Available at: Apple Appstore; Age range: 9-18
Created by yoga instructor Jessica Rosenberg, this interactive app teaches kids yoga through video demonstrations by other kids, with a focus on breathing and movement. The app is narrated by a character named Super Stretch and features 12 different poses with different skill levels. Kids can use the built-in camera to take pictures of themselves doing various poses.
Three Good Things: A Happiness Journal
Available at: Apple Appstore; Age range: 5-18
This app encourages kids to think positively by writing, every day, about three good experiences. The app helps kids think more positively by writing daily about uplifting experiences they’ve had. The app has a feature that lets kids upload and share their writings on social media.
Wellbeyond Meditation for Kids
Available at: Apple Appstore; Age range: 5-8
Like DreamyKids, this is a meditation app, but one geared toward younger kids. It has several guided meditations to help kids center themselves, focus on their breath, be in tune with their feelings and experience empathy for others. Each meditation is narrated by a female voice that uses simple instructions to guide kids through various breathing and visualization exercises.
Wuf Shanti Yoga Fun Machine
Based on the PBS children’s show featuring the yoga dog Wuf Shanti, this app teaches young kids yoga. It has brief video demonstrations, photos and descriptions of a person dressed in a dog suit, who uses animal movements to explain yoga poses. The app also has meditations and videos about positive words and phrases that kids can use in stressful situations.
Tanni Haas, Ph.D., a college professor and writer, recognizes the importance of downtime.