The holidays can be fun, exciting times, but they can also be challenging for little ones. Holiday stress can make tempers short and frustrations big, but this great learning app from Sesame Street helps teach your child how to breathe, think, and do to practice self-regulation.
Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame by Sesame Street
Ages: 4+ (made for ages 5 and under)
Requires: iOS 6.0 or later or Android 2.3 and up
Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android
Breathe, Think, Do is a learning app designed to teach your child problem solving and self-control strategies. The monster faces a series of everyday challenges, and you must help him control his breathing, think of possible solutions to the problem, and act on a chosen strategy. Game play is simple and intuitive, and audio prompts help little learners understand what to do. This app is recommended for caregivers to use together with their child between the ages of 2 and 5.
Parents can unlock additional information by dragging the “Parents” icon to the lower right corner. Instructions are shown on screen, but not narrated, so your little one shouldn’t accidentally access this menu. It includes:
- Tips and Strategies: Choose from one of nine categories. Each tip includes a strategy to work on, a corresponding video to watch together, things you can say to your child, and a recipe for resilience. The tips reinforce the app’s concepts.
- Breathe with Monster: Practice the belly breathing Monster uses to calm down at any time, without having to go through the entire app sequence.
- Personalize This App: Record your own voice for the content in the app, so your child hears key phrases directly from you.
- About This App: Learn important developer information.
- Settings: Turn sound effects and music on or off, and change the language. You can also change the language by tapping the “Español” button on the home screen.
To play, tap on one of the thought bubbles representing a common daily activity that might frustrate a child, like tying your shoes or going to bed. A video with narration by Mando will show what Monster’s problem is. First, you’ll guide Monster through a series of belly breathing exercises to calm down. Next, tap bubbles on screen to pop them while Monster thinks of a plan, with audio encouragement throughout. Monster will think of three possibilities to solve his problem. Next, choose a solution for Monster to try. A video will show how Monster puts his plan successfully in action. Tap the screen to create fireworks to celebrate. The ending video reiterates the think, breathe, do strategy that Monster used. Once you’ve completed the activity, you can automatically advance to the next problem or return to the home screen. Repeat each activity as many times as you want.
This app is a great way to practice self-regulation and develop emotional vocabulary. This app uses familiar situations, which makes it easy for your child to understand the process and apply it. Since Monster brainstorms three potential solutions, your child learns there is more than one way to solve problems. Try practicing the breathe, think, do pattern throughout your day. The National Association for the Education of Young Children recommends modeling behaviors as the first step in teaching your child self-regulation. Think, Breathe, Do is part of Sesame Street’s Little Children, Big Challenges initiative, which helps nurture the life skills children need to overcome everyday challenges. Learn more at their website or by downloading additional Sesame Street apps.
Ready to take the fun off your screen? Help your little one develop emotional vocabulary by sharing emotions throughout the day. As you help your child label emotions, he or she begins to recognize and regulate them. Sharing stories and talking about the character’s feelings is a great way to do this. You can find more great ideas from the Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation, too.
For more app recommendations and examples, be sure to join us for App Time at Davis Library, Wednesday mornings at 11:15 AM. We’ll be heading to our story time break soon, but be sure to look for year-round story times coming in January 2018. Stop by the library for our other great programs, too! Check out our Engage brochure for the complete program lineup.