There’s an app to buy groceries, check your skin tone, and schedule a haircut – so it’s no surprise there are a multitude of apps out there to help our kids learn the important tools of self-regulation. Here, I am going to spell out my family’s favourite 3 and tell you why.
Calm. One reason that I love Calm is that it is geared toward the whole family, not just children. It is full of guided meditations, stories, and music to help us relax and tune inward. Some of the meditations are even spoken by celebrities, oddly enough, but I guess whatever it takes to get us to want to listen?! There is beautiful artwork and easy format to navigate through. There is a whole section called Calm Kids, filled with stories and meditations for different age groups that are so soothing. I find they work great at nighttime to help lower the energy and get my kids in a good space to actually go to sleep. It’s pretty expensive, at about $59.99 USD per year. But we have found it to be worth it. https://www.calm.com/
Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame. Ok. So this one is not my PERSONAL favourite, nor my 10 year old daughter’s, but I want to include it here because it is almost a no brainer winner for the younger kids in the family. I haven’t heard one preschooler ever say that they don’t like Sesame Street, so combining EI tools with the monster character is a recipe for magic. The child gets to interact as the monster goes through daily struggles and challengers and help him make good decisions and plans. It feels fun, but the child is learning valuable tools to apply to her own life. There is a section of ideas and tips for parents, too. https://sesamestreetincommunities.org/activities/breathe-think-do/
My last favourite to mention is Cosmic Kids. This App is full of yoga adventures that are done by your child’s new friend, Jamie! She is pleasant, happy, calming and encouraging, and I promise you – when you need a little quiet time yourself (aka YOU need the kids to be occupied), Jamie is your friend, too. The feature is yoga adventures and sessions that are fun for the kids, but there are also some other sections that kids can choose from. Zen Den is full of mindfulness exercises to follow along with. Peace Out is where Jamie helps the kids re-centre and relax. Finally, Namastories are stories she tells that teach all sorts of EI tools and skills. You can try this app for free for 14 days. Just make sure to cancel it before the 14 days is up so you aren’t charged, if you decide you don’t want to keep it. But I don’t think you will want to get rid of it. https://www.cosmickids.com/
There we have it! These are some great ways to let the kids use an iPad (or your phone!) that you don’t need to feel guilty about. Let’s be clear – we never need to feel guilty. But this way you can let them stare at the screen while you push them and the pile of groceries in the cart through the grocery store and proudly tell the people who stare that “IT’S OKAY! They’re learning how to be more EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT!” And keep on walking with your head held high, thank you very much.