Mental Health

Mindful Powers is the super cute anti-anxiety game for kids

By Kitty Knowles 12 January 2018
Summary

A mindfulness app for kids.

January can be a tough month for your mental health. And today millions of adults use apps like Calm, Headspace, ustwo’s Pause or Sway to improve their mental health.

But many children have difficulty managing their emotions too – especially difficult ones like anger, stress, or anxiety, says Jessica Barnes, Creative Director of digital agency Smashing Ideas.

“Childhood anxiety is on the rise, and kids don’t have the tools to cope,” she told The Memo.

This is why her team has come up a sweet and soothing game for kids called Mindful Powers.

Could it help your kids to balance their lives?

What is Mindful Powers?

Mindful Powers is an app for kids that’s made of two parts.

There’s a ‘Mindful Play’ option which features a series of fun stories subtly themed around mindfulness.

And there’s ‘Focus Time’ which acts as a self-set timer to help kids stick to their set tasks (and not on smartphone distractions).

Kids also get to play with their pet ‘Flibbertigibbet’ when using the app, and by helping their Flibbertigibbet calm down and relax and focus, they learn how to as well.

“Lessons are served in bite size stories, starting out with easy-to-understand concepts, working towards harder-to-grasp concepts,” Barnes says.

“Kids learn how to deal with big emotions and when they come up, how to act on those feelings instead of being reactive.”

Making an app that’s “undeniably cute” helps with this process, adds Barnes.  

“We wanted Flibbertigibbet to act as a mirror for kids and the cute factor creates an instant attachment.”

“He’s like a living emoji character they can relate to.”

Never too young to be mindful

It all sounds rather fluffy, but the app has been created in partnership with Dr. Roger Vilardaga, a  Clinical Psychologist and Professor at Duke University (Vilardaga also helped the Smashing Ideas studio create the ‘Learn to Quit,’ quit smoking app).

What’s more, the methods used in the app are based on contextual behavioral science, and inspired by what’s known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

“Mindfulness empowers individuals to adaptably respond to life events,” Vilardaga tells The Memo.

“It’s practice in children could be a first step to help individuals from a young age relate to their own thoughts more flexibly – as opposed to seeing unwanted thoughts or experiences as something to fight with or get rid of.”

In Smashing Ideas own survey of its users, 73% of kids said they’d play Mindful Powers as part of their daily routine, 81% of children said they felt calm when they calmed their Flibbertigibbets, and all parents believed the app would be beneficial to their children.

It’s currently available for free: the first 3 stories and lessons are also free to use, while the remaining 7 lessons come at a one-off price of $4.99.

Today however, Mindful Powers is just the beginning for Barnes, who dreams of creating a wider platform of digital products that could be used parents, schools, hospitals and child advocacy groups.

Could a Flibbertigibbet help your little one make a positive change?