Mindfulness based relaxation exercises are a great thing to introduce to a child that they can utilize for the rest of their lives. Often times in a music therapy session we guide the patients through relaxation exercises. We can pair music with guided breathing and stretching in order to help them achieve a relaxed state. It is a great way to help them focus in on the present moment or de-stress from an event that has happened in their day. Since we can’t be there every time they need to reach that state, here are some apps that can be used at home. Completing a relaxation/meditation exercise can also help kids wind down and fall asleep faster at the end of the day. Below, I have reviewed three different apps and highlighted what I believe to be the strengths of each one so you may choose which might work best for your child.
1) Head Space: This is one of the original mindfulness apps out there. It can guide you through the basics of mindfulness and begins with short sessions of 3 minutes. This app is definitely a little more mature and mainly geared towards teens and adults, but does have a kids tab as well with categories by age. It does however require a subscription to unlock a lot of the content though.
2) Smiling Mind: This app has a cool feature that will track your meditation data for you throughout the week. They offer a variety of programs that have multiple nodules in each program and are sorted into categories based on age and length of time.
3) Stop, Breathe, and Think/ Stop, Breathe, and Think Kids: Both of these apps are developed by the same people and are free. They have a check-in component, information on how to begin meditating, and a data tracker.
Overall, the Stop, Breathe, and Think apps are the most appealing to me with the check-in. I think a large part of learning to incorporate mindfulness into your life is self-awareness and the check-in helps develop that ability to examine your current state in order to know what is going to be most beneficial for you in the present moment. After using one of these apps at home, it also can be beneficial to play some relaxing white noise or background music to continue that relaxed state or help promote sleep!