Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tips (and apps) to Parent Your Anxious Child

I was searching new materials (procrastinating on Pinterest) today and came across an article with a free printable entitled 10 Tips to Parent Your Anxious Child written by Anne Marie Albano, Ph.D. It was featured on a site called Kidlutions: Solutions for Kids. The list is wonderful and the fact that it is available as a free printable makes it even better. It's a simple resource to share with parents and educators. As I was reading through the list, I thought there must be some apps out there that would help parents implement some of the suggestions. I found seven options that might be useful in reducing anxiety for kids and adults and over half of them are free.
If you would like to download any of the apps below, please show your support for Smart Apps for Special Needs by using the links provided.

Lola's Words Disappeared by Elaheh Mottahedeh

As Lola starts school, something strange happens. Her words disappear! Now Lola must find new ways to give her words the courage to come back. 

A fun and practical introduction to different techniques of anxiety management, specifically created for children with selective mutism. 

Easy concepts to learn and practice at home or at school. 
Suggested for kids between 4-8 years of age. The book explore 6 different anxiety reduction and management techniques: 
 - Simple breathing exercises. 
- Making a worry box and worry friends. 
- Drawing worries and desired outcome. 
- Creating worst and best-case scenarios. 
- Making a worry clock. 
- Practicing in front of the mirror. 

 The original content was created in collaboration with Dr. Tamara Soles, Psychologist specializing in early childhood. 
Original artwork - including hidden children’s artwork 
Original background music & sounds 
Free printable resources available 

 Elaheh Bos is the founder of Plant Love Grow creates support tools and resources to assist parents, teachers and health professionals. We want to help you guide, nurture, inspire, and become facilitators for change and growth.

(iPad, $2.99)

Songza by Songza Media, Inc

Working? Relaxing? At the gym? 
Songza plays you the right music at the right time. 
 *App Store Best of 2012* 
*Free, with no listening limits. 
 *Need help? Email: 
*Stream thousands of original playlists handmade by music experts. 
*Let Songza's 'Music Concierge' find the right music for your moments. 
 *Browse a curated playlist library organized by activity, genre, decade, & mood. 
*Search for an artist, you’ll see every expert-curated playlist on Songza that features them. Any playlist you choose will begin with a song by that artist. 
*Save your favorite playlists & share them via Facebook, Twitter or email. 

 Songza is currently for US and Canadian users only.

(iPhone/iPad, Free)

Worry Watch - Anxiety Management Self Help Journal/Diary by Akilan Rajendran

Often we worry and get anxious about everyday things. Later we realize most of those worries were unnecessary and some irrational too. Yet we don’t tend to remember these momentary realizations when we worry again next time. 

 Worry Watch is a unique journal app designed specifically to log these worries & self-realizations and track them visually. By logging and tracking ‘what might happen’ perception to ‘what did happen’ reality, we may get a deeper understanding of our worry patterns. Such an understanding may help us challenge our worry perceptions and subsequently may help change our future thought patterns in a positive way.

(iPhone/iPad, $1.99)

At Ease: Anxiety and Worry Relief by Meditation Oasis
The meditations are the core of the At Ease program. When we are anxious, our breathing becomes shallow and constricted. You will learn to deal with anxiety by breathing in an easy, natural way that makes you feel more relaxed. In addition, the meditations will also train you to let go of worry and find the pleasure in breathing. 

The At Ease journaling process is designed to increase self-awareness -- the foundation of all meaningful change. It will also help you develop some important strategies for dealing with anxiety. You will be given exercises to do during the day, and questions to write about as you reflect on your experiences with the exercises.

(iPhone/iPad, $2.99)

Self-Help for Anxiety Management by University of the West of England

SAM is a friendly app that offers a range of self-help methods for people who are serious about learning to manage their anxiety. 

 SAM has been developed by a university team of psychologists, computer scientists and student users. Established methods of self-help have been combined with high standards of usability to provide an engaging, flexible, and practical resource. 

The key features of SAM are: 
• Clearly laid out menus 
• User guidance 
• External links 
• Self-monitoring of anxiety with graphical display 
• 25 self-help options covering: Information about anxiety, Thinking and anxiety, Physical relaxation, Mental relaxation, Health and Anxiety 
• Guidance on putting self-help into practice 
• Closed social network of SAM users 

The content of SAM is presented in various media formats in order to support users in learning about anxiety and practicing self-help. Although not text-heavy, users will need to study the guidance to get the best out of SAM. Users are encouraged to build their own Anxiety Toolkit of SAM resources that they find helpful and to draw on this for regular practice in managing situations that are associated with anxiety. 

SAM may be used with or without the support of a registered health practitioner but you may wish to consult with your local health or well-being practitioner if you are uncertain about using SAM.

(iPhone/iPad, Free)

Mindshift by Creative B'stro

Struggling with anxiety? Tired of missing out? There are things you can do to stop anxiety and fear from controlling your life. MindShift is an app designed to help teens and young adults cope with anxiety. It can help you change how you think about anxiety. Rather than trying to avoid anxiety, you can make an important shift and face it. 

 MindShift will help you learn how to relax, develop more helpful ways of thinking, and identify active steps that will help you take charge of your anxiety. This app includes strategies to deal with everyday anxiety, as well as specific tools to tackle: 
 • Test Anxiety 
• Perfectionism 
• Social Anxiety 
 • Performance Anxiety 
• Worry 
• Panic 
• Conflict 

 Think of MindShift as your portable coach helping you face challenging situations and take charge of your life. 

 MindShift is the work of a joint collaboration between AnxietyBC ( and BC Mental Health & Addiction Services (

(iPhone/iPad, Free)

Universal Breathing - Pranayama Free

Pranayama was engineered to teach your body how to breathe properly. Babies naturally breathe diaphragmatically, however adults often take shallow breaths. By training your lungs to breathe at their full capacity, you could experience a whole ton of health benefits! 

Practicing slow breathing for only 15 minutes a day can reduce stress and stress-related illnesses. Universal Breathing - Pranayama was created by doctors, designers and app developers to provide the perfect breathing experience. Using the app allows you to focus on your breathing technique and mindful breathing. Use the different music styles to condition your body to either wake up in the morning or relax before you go to sleep. 

 Falling asleep faster 
Higher athletic endurance 
Help managing asthma and COPD 
Decreased blood pressure 
Relief from headaches and migraines 
Less stress and better mood

(iPhone/iPad, Free)

Please share your favorite apps for reducing anxiety in the comments below.

Sarah realized today that she has 6 weeks of school left and 6 months worth of paperwork that needs to be done!

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