Simone Gindidis – psychologist at Hawthorn Centre for Child Development
Simone again with another tech article. This time I’m chatting about the Stop, Breathe & Think Kids app (no they’re not paying me to recommend it!). Mindfulness and relaxation is all the rage at the moment, and with good reason. Research suggests that learning and practicing breathing techniques, relaxation and mindfulness can help with emotional regulation, releasing tension, and sleep. To develop the necessary skills children engage in activities that help them to identify and process their feelings.
Stop, Breathe & Think Kids is for children aged 5-10 and is designed with activities and games to teach mindfulness. An example of one of the activities (or ‘missions’) on the app is called Counting Breaths. Muscle tension often happens when we’re anxious or stressed. The Counting Breaths activity is a 2-minute guided breathing activity that has children doing a simple progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) exercise. PMR is the process of creating and releasing muscle tension in the body – try curling and releasing your toes and you’ll get the picture. This activity teaches children how to become aware of the way in which their feelings (such as worry) can sometimes impact how they feel physically while providing them with a strategy to use when wanting to loosen-up or settle down.
Stop, Breathe & Think Kids is free to download and there are additional paid subscription options for access to extra content. The app is easy and fun to use and has received positive feedback from parents, children and mental health practitioners alike. I do have a few cautions: the app requires you to setup a login and password using your email address. Annoying, I know. When apps request your data or other personal information, I always recommend parents take the time to either read the (often painful) privacy policies or email the app developer to ask how your data will be handled.
I regularly use apps with children and parents as some can offer families with information and additional resources between sessions. If you have any good apps or feedback about any of the ones we’ve showcased, please get in touch!
Simone is a registered psychologist who recently submitted her PhD in Educational and Developmental psychology. She is dedicated to helping children, adolescents and parents achieve positive learning, relationships, and wellbeing across the lifespan. A lover of technology and gaming, she developed a successful e-learning iPad program to support second language acquisition in a private language school. Her PhD research investigated how smartphone apps can be used to support adolescents in therapy. In addition to technology and all things Harry Potter, she has considerable experience working in primary and secondary school environments training teachers and parents in the use of technology to aid communication and learning. She is trained in Cross-Battery Assessment of cognitive and academic abilities and ensures a flexible, responsive approach to providing evidence-based psychological services. Simone is sensitive to cross-cultural issues; fluent in both English and Greek. She is an Associate Member of the Australian Psychological Society, and former representative on the National Committee of Educational and Developmental Psychologists. An occasional lecturer and teaching associate at Monash University in postgraduate psychology and counselling programs, Simone is passionate about marrying the latest research evidence with psychological services.