By Tracey Dowdy
School is in full swing and families are back into their routines. Those first-days-of-school jitters have passed for most kids, but not everyone can transition from the unstructured days of summer so easily.
Fortunately, there are several apps that can be a helpful tool for children who struggle with self-control.
They encourage kids to think before they act or speak, learn to keep their emotions in check and concentrate on achieving their goals.
Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings is based on the popular PBS TV show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Aimed at preschoolers, children can play, sing-a-long, draw and take photos, all while learning about how to manage their feelings. (Ages 4+/iOS/$2.99)
Sesame Street has a well-earned reputation for understanding kids and knowing how to combine learning with fun. Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame equips kids with emotion regulating tools like breathing exercises, problem solving tips and personalized, encouraging phrases children hear as they help the monster think of a plan to calm him down. (Ages 2-5/iOS, Android/Amazon/Free)
Your kids will love dressing up, feeding, playing with and caring for a zany zebra, shy sheep, jolly giraffe and modest moose with the Avokiddo Emotions app. Each activity engages the character’s reactions and emotions through sounds and body language, teaching kids empathy by connecting the animals’ emotions to their causes. (Ages 4+/iOS, Android/ $2.99)
The Stop, Breathe & Think Kids app teaches children to stop, focus on their breathing, identify their feelings, and then choose an appropriate response. Developed by Susan Kaiser Greenland, it’s “designed to help kids discover the superpowers of quiet, focus and more peaceful sleep.” The app allows parents and students to track their progress by using graphs mapping trends in their emotional state. (Ages 4+/iOS, Android, web/Free, with in-app purchases)
Headspace started as a meditation app for adults, but they’ve created a version to help kids develop both focusing skills and self-awareness, while at the same time teaching them how to relieve their anxieties and reduce stress. (Various ages categories/iOS, Android, website/Free with in-app purchases)
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.