Right now, things are tough for families as tension and stress continue to rise (and everyone is stuck in very close quarters). To help keep everyone's mental health in check, now is a great time to download some meditation apps for kids and families. A few minutes of mindfulness and deep breaths can do wonders for everyone, no matter their age.
Whether you are an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between, chances are good that you're not getting your battery fully recharged while you practice social distancing for COVID-19. The same is true for your little ones who likely miss their friends, want to go to their favorite play areas, and generally don't understand what's going on. Meditation and practicing mindfulness can benefit you all. Meditation helps adults "reduce negative emotions," increase "self awareness," and focus "on the present," according to the Mayo Clinic. It can be just as beneficial to kids, too, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): The practice helps to ease children's feelings of anxiety, improve sleep, and generally calms the nervous system.
There are a lot of great apps to help parents, kids, and teens start practicing mindfulness and meditation. If it's something your family isn't already doing, now is the perfect time to give this technique a try. Here are eight popular apps to help you all get started.
1. Mindful Family
Mindful Family has guided meditations, sounds, and stories meant for kids ages 5 and up. Parents can join their kinds in practicing the meditations or turn on one to help their little ones fall asleep. The basic app is free and there are upgraded versions for a fee.
2. Breathe, Think, Do! With Sesame
Sesame Street has a lot of great apps for kids, including one that focuses on meditation and mindfulness called Breathe, Think, Do! With Sesame. It's activity based and uses fun animated characters to teach little kids how to take deep breaths, create calming phrases for themselves, and more. It's best for kids between 2 and 8 years old and is free to download.
3. Smiling Mind
Smiling Mind offers guided meditations for adults and kids age 7 and up. It was designed by educators and psychologists and is free to download. It's backed by a nonprofit organization whose goal is simply to advocate for mental health.
4. Mindful Powers
Kids between 7 and 10 years old can practice meditation with Mindful Powers. The first three lessons on the app are free, and from there you can decide if you want to pay to subscribe. It's designed for daily use and offers guided meditations and a "task timer" to help kids stay focused (which could prove to be very useful if your child's school is closed indefinitely).
Headspace is a pretty popular meditation app, and it offers programs for both adults and kids. It's free to try but requires a subscription after two weeks (they offer a family subscription so everyone can benefit from it). On the kids platform, they offer five themes (Calm, Focus, Kindness, Sleep, and Wake up) for three age group options (5 and under, 6 to 9 years old, and 9 to 12 years old).
6. Stop, Breathe, & Think
Stop, Breathe, & Think has a platform for adults and another one for kids between 5 and 10 years old. Both platforms are designed to have users "stop" to check in with their feelings, "breathe" to calm down, and "think" with a guided meditation. You can try the app for free and upgrade for more content.
DreamyKid was created for kids and helps kids between the ages of 3 to 18 years old. It has something for everyone, from general meditations, sleep stories, calming sounds, issue-based content (such as anxiety, ADHD, etc.), and more. It's free to try before committing to a subscription.
The whole family can use Calm to get their meditation time in. It has a huge collection of guided meditations, stories, sounds, and more that are designed for adults and/or kids. The app offers meditations in varying lengths, some as short as three minutes. You can try it for free, but after your trial, it requires a subscription.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all our Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here on this page, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.