Everyone can benefit from finding their center and introducing a bit of mindfulness into their routines — kids included. Numerous studies have shown the benefits to introducing mindfulness practices to education, ranging from reports of happier classroom environments, increased levels of empathy and compassion, and a better understanding of how to sit with their emotions and resolve conflicts. Especially as life becomes more stressful — with school (especially exams), friends and home-life growing and changing alongside your little one — introducing meditation as something your child can do on their own (or with you) is a great way to give them a tool for emotional growth that they’ll be able to utilize as they grow.
Just like a bit of quiet, meditative practice can do wonders for mom, it can just as easily become a part of your child’s life and help them become a more confident, thoughtful and mindful person. Whether you have a meditative practice of your own or are just beginning your mindfulness journey, there’s a number of apps to choose from that can suit children of all ages. Take a few deep, conscious breaths and read on for our picks of some of the best kids’ meditation and mindfulness apps out there:
Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame
If you love and trust the team behind Sesame Street the way I do, you’ll be delighted by their app geared to teaching kids about mindfulness and dealing with frustration. While not offering up a traditional meditative session, the app, recommended for kids four and up, lays down a solid foundation of teaching kids to breathe, think and then act as they play through a number of different scenarios (from bedtime to conflict resolution to separation anxiety) — available in both English and Spanish. There’s great co-viewing components for parents and little ones to share and discuss experiences and feelings and options to record an encouraging positive audio message to your kid as they play through the app.
Developed by educators and psychologists, Smiling Mind offers meditation and mindfulness exercises for multiple demographics — from kids to adults — and activities, programs and meditations designed for navigating school, stress, the workplace, sleep and more. The interface is clean and easy to use — assuring you that with just 10 minutes a day, you can feel a bit more connected and balanced. And the sheer amount of free material at your disposal makes it worth downloading.
Headspace for Kids
A favorite meditation app for grown-ups (I’ve been using it for a few years now and really dig it!), Headspace’s kids’ content takes similar themes and makes them fun and engaging for kids to explore. With offerings for three different age groups (five and under, six to eight and nine to 12) and themes like calm, focus, kindness, sleep and wake up, these meditations are great for helping your child connect with their bodies and feelings throughout their day.
Meditations for Kids
With ten guided meditations and tracks with calming sounds, Meditations for Kids offers up a number of five minute recordings that follow themes like practicing being still, hanging out at the beach or handling fears (like a fear of the dark) using breathing exercise, movement, visualization and more. It’s a simple app with a pretty, soothing interface — but, most of all, it offers kids a lot to do beyond the screen (which is kind of the point!)
This app is $0.99 to download and available via the App store .
Sleep Meditations for Kids
Lead by a double-threat teacher, Christiane Kerr, who teaches both yoga and at a Montessori school, this app features a number of guided story meditations that are designed to help kids navigate sleep issues (insomnia, stress, anxiety, etc.) With soothing music and sound effects and Christiane’s very calm voice, it’s a great opportunity to introduce some mindfulness into your bedtime routine (and maybe chase some of the bedtime scaries away). Included with the app is a free kids relaxation meditation and a number of tracks available for in-app purchase.
This app is free to download and available via the App store.
Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all way to introduce a meditative or mindfulness practice into your life, but with the help of some pros (including the folks behind these apps) you may just find the right fit for you and your family.