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You’re out with your son running errands and you can see his anxiety getting bigger and bigger. You can’t delay these errands, but you’re noticing he looks like he’s about to head into full meltdown mode. And you don’t have his coping skills toolkit with you right now. What can you do? Maybe there’s an app that could help.
Apps can help kids manage when they feeling anxious. Some apps can help kids get through an anxious moment. And there are also apps that can help by distracting them.
Note: all these apps are on iOS. Some are also be available for Android.
Apps to help kids with anxiety
The free version has 5 guided meditations for kids. They give more detailed information about each of their meditations and instructions on how to do mindfulness.
Not specifically targeted for kids, but can be used by people of all ages. There’s a huge variety of sounds you can play, but there are also guided meditations. There are a lot more options in the pro version.
Calm is a popular app among adults for mindfulness and meditation. Did you know there’s a section called Calm Kids? You can get access to it with a subscription. If you use the app for free, there’s also a daily calm series inspired by the characters in Winnie the Pooh.
This is good for upper elementary kids who are strong readers and typers. This app helps kids figure out why they are feeling a certain way and then encourages them to think of things in a different way. There’s also a 5 minute guided meditation. Cool fact - this app was created by kids!
Super cute and kid friendly. This app has relaxing music and no ads. There are four different little minutes you can do, with a fish, a balloon, a star and a gem. Kids hold down the image as it goes up through relaxing scenery. This is super calming even for adults.
Can be helpful at bedtime to help kids settle down and transition into sleep
Headspace (Free limited access version, but you can upgrade for the full experience for $7.92/month for a year, or $12.99 monthly)
A popular one for adults, this also has a section just for kids. It’s divided by age (under 5, elementary kids and pre-teens) and covers topics like calm, focus, kindness, sleep and wake up. There’s an introduction video to help you get started.
This is another app that is for adults, but also has a family section with three guided meditations for families to use together.
There are a ton of game apps out there that can help distract kids. Here are a few I’ve discovered to be soothing and calming.
A coloring app that’s very easy to use. Just pick a picture and a color pallette. Touch the color you want and tap the area of the picture you want to color in. You can zoom in on details. What a neat way to distract kids.
Relaxing tangram puzzles. They have all the pieces out for you, all you have to do is arrange them.
Keep the diamond on top while you move out the blocks below. The music reacts to the block movements and is quite calm.
You lead a cute little bot through puzzles with no timers or buzzers. It’s adorable!
It’s gorgeous and the background music is quite relaxing
It’s a puzzle game where you are changing the environment to get from a starting point to the end. The music is so soothing.
I recently discovered this one. We were out and my son needed a break. I, unfortunately, did not bring any coping tools with us. But I did have my phone. I knew he liked Hidden Pictures, and I wondered if there’s an app for that. And I discover that there is. You can zoom in on pictures, and find the images. You can do free play, timed play, or find the clues in a particular order.
Listening to books can be a great way to distract kids and have them focus on something else other than their anxiety.This app is connected to amazon, and it’s a way you can listen to audiobooks. There are a TON of books available. It can be used across devices, so you are always in the right place in a book. My kids love listening to books like Harry Potter, Magic Tree House, Eragon and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Your son started using the Mindful Minutes app and he seems to be relaxing. You’re back on track to finish up your errands quickly and then get your little guy home so he can relax in his calm down spot.