It’s Never Too Early

In an increasingly digital world—and one currently in a pandemic—children are dealing with a multitude of feelings they may not know how to handle or even identify. These experiences can also exacerbate their feelings, causing anxiety or heightening stress and worry. In fact, mental health challenges for children are at an all-time high and worsening.

Luckily, there are solutions we can look to. Mindfulness and meditation can help kids regulate their emotions, aid with sleep, and guide them through particularly tough times. Just a few minutes a day can lower depression and anxiety, improve academic performance, and build social skills.

We’ve rounded up seven apps that are leading the way when it comes to mindfulness and meditation for children. Whether you’re looking for support with issues like ADHD, soothing bedtime stories for a light sleeper, or exercises building gratitude and happiness, there’s a good fit for you and your little one. 

(Here are some additional tips on teaching mindfulness to children! And don’t forget about your own wellbeing—here are the best breathing and mediation apps for adults.)

1. Headspace for Kids

Best For | Breathing & visualization, ages 5 & under, 6–8, 9–12
Price | Free for basic features, $12.99/monthly or $69.99/annually for a premium membership
Features | Basics course, five focus areas, guided meditations, bedtime practices

Named “Editor’s Choice” in the App Store, Headspace has expanded its award-winning meditation for kids, through breathing exercises, visualizations, and focus-based meditations. The app has five focus areas for children, depending on their needs: calm, focus, kindness, sleep, and wake up. Because Headspace understands that different exercises work best for different ages, there are three recommended age groups, with tailored sessions for each. Start with a free trial to determine if it’s right for your little one!

Learn more about Headspace for Kids

2. Moshi

Best For | Sleep, ages 3+
Price | Free for basic features, $9.99/monthly or $59.99/annually
Features | Audio-only app, bedtime stories, integrates with Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant, offline downloads

Moshi reigns supreme as the top kids’ sleep and mindfulness app in over 60 countries. This audio-only app helps your little one fall asleep and learn about mindfulness, with a content library spanning 145+ different bedtime stories, music tracks, and meditations. Some bedtime stories are even narrated by the likes of Goldie Hawn and Patrick Stewart, which can be played over Bluetooth, Airplay, or via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. No extra screen time or blue light here, just a good night’s sleep.

Learn more about Moshi

3. Smiling Mind

Best For | Teachers & children’s classrooms, ages 3–6, 7–9+
Price | Free
Features | Free guided meditations, free school & educators program, integrates with Google Home, some indigenous languages available

Smiling Mind is a 100 percent free meditation app available to anyone and everyone, including children’s meditations starting at ages three and up. Downloaded over five million times, this Australian app was developed by psychologists and educators to help deal with the pressures and stress of everyday life (including through COVID-19). To bring mindfulness to the classroom, Smiling Mind offers school-based programs as well (and here’s why it’s so important!). 

Learn more about Smiling Mind

4. Calm

Best For | Beginner meditations, ages 3+
Price | Free for basic features, $69.99/annually for Calm Premium
Features | Calm Kids beginner meditations, focus sessions, emotions series, sleep stories

For years, Calm has come in at #1 in the App Store for sleep and meditation; that’s why it’s the perfect space for beginners tackling mindfulness for the first time. As part of the regular app, the Calm Kids section includes meditations, focus sessions, emotions series, study breaks, and even 30 sleep stories for children ranging in age from 3–18. Luckily, meditations across the app are fully age-appropriate, so there are hundreds of hours and sessions to enjoy.

Learn more about Calm

5. Dreamy Kid

Best For | Affirmations & issue-based meditations, ages 3+
Price | Free for basic features, $8.99/monthly or $89.99/annually
Features | Website access, daily & guided meditations, affirmations, issue-based meditations, sleep stories & sounds

Dreamy Kid can help kids live healthier, happier lives with 10 minutes of practice a day. This free basic app with subscription plans offers meditation for children ages 3–17, including guided sessions, affirmations and self-esteem exercises, healing activities that get kids moving, and issue-based meditations to tackle challenges like anxiety or ADHD. You can also apply to bring Dreamy Kid to your local community, as it’s deeply discounted for accredited professionals who work with children.

Learn more about Dreamy Kid

6. Mindful Powers

Best For | Focus & social-emotional learning, ages 7+
Price | Free for basic features, $4.99 one-time for access to premium content
Features | Skills-based approach, voice-guided mindfulness, task & focus timer, sensory interactions

Mindful Powers integrates mindfulness and social-emotional learning into your child’s everyday routine. Built on a holistic, skills-based approach, this app uses the power of play to teach kids ages 7-10 about stress, restlessness, and anxiety. There are two main features within the app: Mindful Play and Focus Time. Mindful Play is a series of voice-guided sessions including interactive sensory-based interaction. Then, Focus Time is a self-set timer so kids can focus on any given task like homework or reading.

Learn more about Mindful Powers

7. Stop, Breathe, and Think Kids

Best For | Identifying emotions, ages 5–10
Price | Free for basic features, $9.99/monthly or $58.99/annually for premium features
Features | 15 free meditations, sleep stories, emotion-based activities

Stop, Breathe, and Think Kids is the sister app to the popular Stop, Breathe, and Think MyLife Meditation. With over a dozen free meditations (and 30+ premium ones available!), children ages 5-10 can learn more about identifying and connecting to their emotions through fun emojis, games, and animations. Whether your child is dealing with overexcitement, disappointment and sadness, or having trouble sleeping, this app is chock full of guidance. It was built in collaboration with a renowned leader known for children’s mindfulness, after all.

Learn more about Stop, Breathe, Think

Parents and guardians, how are you teaching your little ones about mindfulness? Share in the comments below!