Mindful Powers is a mindfulness app specifically designed for children. Once the app is opened, the child is introduced to a creature called the Flibbertygibbit, a polygonal entity who sometimes has a hard time controlling their emotions. The child is tasked with caring for the Flibbertygibbit and making sure that it stays happy and calm.
As the child does this, they learn about what emotions can do to different parts of the brain and different mindfulness techniques to calm and center themselves. At the start of these various techniques, the child needs to calm their Flibbertygibbit by smoothing them out. When the creature is stressed or experiencing a “big emotion,” it is a dark blue color and spiky.
By running their finger gently over the screen, the child smoothes the Flibbertygibbit into a slightly less spiky blue color. The creature will begin to purr as the child continues to smooth the creature into a happy pink sphere. Once this happens, the lesson will begin.
The app also features a focus timer which children can use when they need to complete homework, do a chore, or perform a task where they cannot be distracted. The Flibbertygibbit stays on screen with them for the duration of the timer, encouraging them to stay focused.
Mindful Powers is available now on iOS.
For children who struggle with staying focused, mindfulness apps are a perfect way to practice blocking out distractions and staying on task. MindfulPowers has two different ways for children to practice their focusing skills. The Focus timer allows the child to set the amount of time they need to focus and hit the start button. Their Flibbertygibbit will stay on screen, encouraging them to remain on task. For children who struggle with focusing, setting a short timer for a lower-stakes activity can help them build up the confidence to perform longer tasks without distractions.
The mindfulness stories also teach children about focusing, particularly through counting breaths and other breathing techniques. For children who struggle with focusing, these types of activities can be repeated at certain times throughout the day to reinforce the importance of clearing your mind and blocking out distractions.
The app sets up the premise that the child needs to care for their Flibbertygibbit by helping to keep it calm. The exercises that “calm” this creature also ask the child to participate, talking to them about the importance of recognizing emotions and providing tips for managing them. For example, portions of the guided focusing sessions compare some of our “big emotions'' to a pack of barking dogs that are alarmed and ready to fight at the smallest thing.
Through mindfulness and focusing on our breathing, the app tells children that we can turn that large pack of dogs into a “chill and cuddly panda bear.” These types of visualizations are repeated, giving the child a visual cue for their emotions and how they should feel when they are appropriately processed. For children who struggle with self-control, starting slow and doing one mindfulness activity a day and debriefing afterwards can be a good way to practice mindfulness and expressing emotions appropriately.
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