Mindfulness and relaxation are two distinct, yet complementing practices often used to achieve well-being. According to the APA (American Psychological Association), mindfulness is the non-judgmental awareness of one’s internal and external environment, while relaxation is the process of easing energy or tension to produce calmness of mind and body. Both practices involve being present at the moment and restoring psychological balance.
The practice of mindfulness and relaxation is helpful not only for adults but for kids as well. One of the ways to help them manage stress, improve focus, and become resilient is by using mobile apps that support these benefits.
If you’re looking for the best apps for mindfulness and relaxation, here’s a guide to help you get started.
The Benefits of Mobile Apps for Kids’ Mindfulness and Relaxation
Just like you, kids can also experience anxiety, stress, and other issues related to their mental health. Parents and educators can incorporate mindfulness and relaxation apps alongside other mindfulness activities to promote a well-rounded approach to supporting children’s mental health. These mobile apps are readily accessible and convenient to use, with numerous features available that fit children’s changing needs.
Here are some of the key benefits of using such mobile apps:
Accessibility And Convenience
Learning to practice meditation and relaxation can help your kids cope with stress when they encounter challenges in their lives. The more they practice, the more they can get better in their techniques. Even better, mobile apps allow them to practice anytime and anywhere.
Mobile apps make it more convenient for parents and educators to teach or practice mindfulness and relaxation with kids. You can plan activities at the most convenient time and location to encourage them to practice at their own pace.
Interactive And Engaging Features
One of the most beneficial ways to promote learning for kids is through playtime. By making learning fun and engaging, kids can be more willing to participate. Mobile apps provide an enjoyable way for them to learn more about mindfulness and relaxation.
Similar to other kid-friendly apps, mindfulness and relaxation apps use interactive features and gaming elements to keep kids entertained and engaged. Some examples are animated characters, games, and challenges, as well as interactive stories.
Personalization And Customization Options
Mindfulness and relaxation apps for children provide opportunities for personalization and customization. There is room for creativity as they immerse themselves in these apps. For example, kids can create their avatars (choose their appearance, clothes, accessories, etc.), choose the music they like, and pick a theme (i.e. fantasy world, nature scenes).
Another benefit of mindfulness and relaxation apps for kids is that there are different types to choose from. This allows you to find the right mobile app that matches a kid’s age, level, and interests.
Progress Tracking And Feedback
Progress tracking provides parents and educators a way to assess a kid’s current performance level and take a look at their growth. Through ongoing monitoring, you can identify where extra help is needed.
For example, there are meditation apps that help keep track of when kids meditate and the time they spent meditating. Other apps offer mood and well-being check-ins.
Progress tracking and feedback features inspire children to keep practicing mindfulness exercises and help them recognize their accomplishments. For example, some apps make use of a reward system by encouraging kids to collect stars as they progress through the program.
There are also apps that send reminders for kids to stay on track with their mindfulness practice.
Different Types of Mindfulness and Relaxation Apps for Kids
Kids can enjoy a variety of mindfulness and relaxation apps that match their age groups, interests, and learning habits. Here are some apps to explore:
Breathing And Meditation Apps
Kids can easily get stressed, anxious, and tired due to life’s challenges. That’s why it’s beneficial for them to take out time to relax and take a break through meditation. Some meditation practices incorporate breathing techniques to achieve calmness.
Breathing and meditation apps offer kid-friendly audio or video meditations to help children unwind, concentrate, and hone their mindfulness. They provide detailed instructions, calming voices, and visualizations. The interactive images and animations aim to help kids practice deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and other relaxation techniques.
Guided Imagery And Visualization Apps
There are different types of learning, and some children learn best when you encourage their imagination. Kids are innately imaginative, and adults can tap into this skill to promote mindfulness and relaxation.
Some mindfulness and relaxation mobile apps designed for kids incorporate guided imagery and visualization. Through auditory cues and visualization methods, children are encouraged to create vivid mental images.
For example, some apps offer a guided journey that leads the listener’s imagination into different places to promote feelings of calm. Kids can relax as they are guided on an imaginary magical boat journey, go on a trip to visit beautiful waterfalls, and the like. There are also audio-only apps that read bedtime stories, meditations, and provide music to teach kids about mindfulness and promote sleep.
These methods are designed to help children relax by visualizing uplifting or calming events. With each imagined experience, kids feel emotionally balanced, focused, and creative.
Yoga And Movement Apps
Some children may have difficulty staying still while performing mindfulness meditation on breath because it requires sitting quietly. Another good alternative in this situation is a movement-based meditation such as yoga.
Yoga and movement apps utilize animated tutorials and engaging activities to teach kids the basics of yoga and mindful movement. They offer engaging environments where kids may practice yoga poses, mindful movement drills, and physical activities that enhance body awareness, flexibility, strength, and relaxation.
Yoga and movement apps for kids often come with age-appropriate directions, video lessons, and entertaining elements to make the experience fun for kids.
Mindful Games And Activities Apps
It’s in the nature of kids to play and it’s also an important component of their healthy development. Through games, they can find solutions to problems, think of strategies, learn to follow directions, and others. There are plenty of mindful games and activities apps to also help them improve their mental health.
Playing games and doing mindfulness exercises on these apps encourage kids to practice mindfulness consistently. They contain interactive games, puzzles, coloring activities, and mindful movement exercises that help increase children’s focus, attention, and self-awareness.
The Impact and Effectiveness of Mobile Apps for Kids’ Mindfulness and Relaxation
Studies have revealed encouraging results about the advantages of mindfulness and relaxation apps on numerous facets of a child’s mental health, attention, and emotional regulation. For instance, a study that appeared in Frontiers Psychology showed how mindfulness training helps kids perform better on tests of cognitive abilities like attention or executive functioning.
Preschoolers’ performance on an attention exercise improved after 12 mindfulness training sessions, while the passive control group showed no improvement.
In another one of their studies involving an eight-week mindfulness training program, parents reported improvement in their seven to nine-year-old children’s inhibition, emotional regulation, and initiative. The children also displayed positive changes in working memory, planning, material organization, and monitoring.
Tips for Using These Mobile Apps Mindfully
When choosing mindfulness and relaxation apps for kids, consider age-appropriate content and features to achieve the best results. For instance, younger children may benefit from apps that incorporate playful animations, interactive visuals, and simplified instructions. On the other hand, older children may appreciate apps that offer more advanced mindfulness techniques and provide opportunities for personalization and self-reflection.
To maximize the benefits of mindfulness apps, try to incorporate their usage into children’s daily routines. Set a specific time for mindfulness practice, such as before bedtime or after school, and make it a consistent habit. Kids will benefit from using the app independently, but you can also engage in mindfulness exercises together as a family.
Lastly, consider combining app usage with other mindfulness activities to enhance the overall mindfulness experience and promote a well-rounded approach for the child. Mindfulness apps can be used as a complement to other mindfulness activities, such as practicing breathing exercises, engaging in mindful movement, spending time in nature, or participating in guided group sessions.
Along with using mobile apps, you can also buy mental health worksheets online that can help kids practice mindfulness creatively and conveniently.
Kid-friendly mindfulness and relaxation mobile apps are fun, convenient tools that provide several benefits for children, from increased self-awareness to stress management. Developing such skills are useful especially as they grow and mature into adulthood.
If you’re a parent, seize the opportunity to explore these mindfulness and relaxation apps alongside your child. See how they can help your little one as early as now, and later as they grow older.