Mini-Guide: Smiling Mind

LQ: 8.9

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Brain grade: 10
Fun score: 7.8

Smiling Mind
Platform/Console: , , , , LWK Recommended Age: Any Thinking Skills Used: , ,

Smiling Mind was designed with the help of psychologists and other health professionals to help users be more mindful. A person who is mindful is completely present in the moment and operating at their full potential. The app includes meditations for the following age groups: 7-9, 10-12, 13-15, 16-18, and older adult. Smiling Mind also offers classroom guides and plans for these same age groups. There are a range of meditations in differing lengths with categories including back-to-school, sports, and the workplace. Smiling Mind includes take-home activity modules that challenge the user to do things like journaling, mindfully listening, or playing a favorite song. Smiling Mind is free and rated E for Everyone. Although meditation may be a bit over the head of a child under 7 years, there is nothing objectionable in the content if a younger child wants to follow along.


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Smiling Mind helps kids practice and improve the following skills:

Focus

Getting started and then maintaining attention and effort to tasks.

Smiling Mind provides your child with the opportunity to practice focus in multiple ways. First and foremost, it challenges them to focus on a single specific thought or image, such as a bubble, "internal weather," or a strand of seaweed. Beyond this, the emphasis Smiling Mind places on mindfulness (as opposed to the act of meditation) helps your child practice focusing on specific sensory input, wishes and goals, and even elements like air and fire. There is also at least one meditation in the app (in the introduction series) that asks the user to first focus inward on breathing, then focus outward on sounds--beginning with those furthest away and then moving closer, before finally returning to an inward focus on the breathing. This provides a very concrete foundation to practice being focused, "losing" focus (by turning outward again), and then regaining the inward focus.

Self-Awareness

Understanding our own actions, thoughts and feelings.

Smiling MindThere are two ways that this app helps users practice self-awareness. First, before and after every meditation session, Smiling Mind asks the user to evaluate and rate their happiness, contentedness, and alertness. This challenges your child to examine their own feelings and reflect on which meditations or activities are most beneficial to them. Secondly, there are multiple meditations and activities that focus on examining the actions, thoughts, and feelings of the user. Whether your child is comparing emotions to the weather or turning outward with empathy and kindness, Smiling Mind can strengthen their self-awareness.

Self-Control

Managing our actions, feelings and behaviors.

Smiling Mind provides the chance to manage self-control by asking your child to sit still and follow the guided meditations in each module. As your child resists the impulse to ignore the audio guide, let their mind wander, and even to just get up and leave, they are getting great opportunities to practice self-control. There are also "take home activity" modules that ask your child to engage in a variety of non-meditation mindfulness activities, several of which will help strengthen coping skills, anger and frustration control, and impulse control. This will help your child take what they are learning in the meditation modules and apply it to their everyday, sometimes out-of-control, lives.

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