Children's Mental Health Apps

Apps can be a priceless tool. Imagine your child having a coping skill in their pocket that can bring harmony and presence at home or in the classroom. Meditation apps are fostering great results, they can help young ones calm down and help improve focus and concentration. Many environments can be overstimulating. Mindfulness apps can help reduce the effects by calming the mind. If your child is dealing with social anxiety or mental health-related symptoms or disorders such as ADHD, apps can be very beneficial to aid in the reduction of symptoms.

In many cases, all that is needed is a quiet room, a soothing voice to guide them, and the sounds of nature to soothe stresses away. Using apps correctly as a tool can be practiced throughout life to smoothen out the path. Kids will love learning that they can have an impact on their well-being, calm down and get more out of life.

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame: This app is for kids 2-5. This is a helpful and educational app that can help students when they are struggling with a particular problem. The app also has a parent section, that allows you to use it alongside your students and guide them through the process. (The app has positive reviews on content and poor reviews on performance, however, they are old, and the bugs have been resolved since then.)

DreamyKid: This is an award-winning app that has over 150K downloads and a five-star rating. Great for ages 3-18, however, adults can definitely use it as well. The app includes kid-friendly guided visualizations, affirmations, and meditations. Kids can listen to music that helps in relaxation, falling asleep, focusing for school, and issues-based symptoms from ADD/ADHD, anxiety, overeating, etc. DreamyKid’s vision is to see mindfulness used as a fun and accessible practice.

Headspace: Quick two- to three-minute resets. One of the first meditation apps that were released in the market. Mini-meditations, SOS sessions for panic, anxiety, and stress releases, and over 100 guided meditations and exercises. They use cartoon videos to teach the process of meditation. It also has a special feature that focuses only on meditation for targeted areas such as sports and health. It has a buddy system feature so that two kids can work together on the app.

Stop, Breathe, and Think: Meditation and mindfulness to build the emotional strength and confidence needed to handle life’s ups and downs. This unique approach allows the user to check-in their emotions and the app then recommends short, guided meditations, yoga, and acupressure videos tuned for how you are feeling. The app includes meditations for teens and tweens.

Sleep Meditations for Children: If you can’t decide between reading a story or using a meditation app, this could be the app for you. Yoga and Montessori teacher Christiane Kerr, founder of Calm for Kids, takes your kid through a story meditation with soft relaxing music playing in the background. The app is meant for kids ages 12 and below, but you may find yourself falling asleep to the app, too. These profoundly relaxing recordings can help your children with sleep issues, insomnia, stress, anxiety, and feelings of confidence and well-being. These recordings will enhance feelings of contentment.

UCLA Mindful: Meditation for well-being. UCLA’s number one downloaded app is an excellent app for parents and young adults. Diana Winston, director of UCLA’s The Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) and author of two meditation books, teaches with a soothing voice and simplifies meditations so all can understand. Easy-to-use and essential reflections. The app also comes in a Spanish version. Winston and guest speakers lead a live session every Thursday, called Podcast at the Hammer. Weekly topics include Curiosity & Compassion in the Family, Natural Awareness, and Cultivating Gratitude. The app is educational and inspiring.

Hemi-Sync: Designed by famed researcher Robert Monroe, Hemi-Sync is home to the largest online collection of scientifically designed music and audio that will help you or your child relax, focus, learn, meditate and sleep. Hemi-Sync means synchronizing the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Hundreds of tracks are carefully blended and sequenced to gently lead the brain to various states of consciousness. Reach profound meditative states quickly and easily with Hemi-Sync. The unique sounds are enjoyable to play even as background music. Meditate for wellness and personal growth.

Like with all mindfulness activities, experience any or all of the apps with curiosity, non-judgment, and find what resonates with your core and your child.

Anthony Cupo is a Trained Mindfulness Facilitator (TMF) from the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He is a co-owner of Stepping Forward Counseling Center, LLC and has been meditating for over 30 years. Our article is also published in ParentingOC’s Magazine!

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