Apps to Help Kids and Teens with Anxiety

Many people enjoy using apps on a smartphone or tablet, and apps to help with stress and anxiety are prolific. The following apps, selected from apps recommended on various websites or by therapists, offer a variety of approaches ranging from mindfulness, guided meditation and breathing, body scans, sleep stories, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and even emotional freedom techniques (EFT, or “tapping”). These kid-friendly apps are generally free or low cost, but some offer in-app purchases or a free trial prior to a subscription. The Medical Home Portal has provided this information as a service and does not endorse any of the apps specifically or receive reimbursement from any of the app developers or sites.

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Street

An app for parents of children ages 0-6 to help teach skills such as problem solving, self-control, planning, and task persistence. Kids laugh and learn as they help a Sesame Street monster friend calm down and solve everyday challenges. On the Sesame Street Apps and Ebooks website, click on The Family Tool Kit tab to locate Breathe, Think, Do and other apps to help children cope with divorce, incarceration of a family member, emergency preparedness, autism, moving, and being part of a military family. Free Apple (Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Street App (Apple)) and Android (Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Street App (Android)) apps.

Breathe 2 Relax

The mHealth Clinical Integration: U.S. Defense Health Agency Mobile Health Apps & Websites offer apps and websites from the U.S. Military Health System, including several relevant to kids such as Military Kids Connect, Sesame Street for Military Families, and the Breathe 2 Relax App (Apple). This app provides instruction on diaphragmatic “belly” breathing, which helps lower stress and reduce anxiety, developed by the U.S. Defense Health Agency. Graphics, animation, narration, and videos lead users through several breathing exercises. The technology will appeal to teens and adults. Free Apple (Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Street App (Apple)) and Android (Breathe 2 Relax App (Android)) apps.

CBT Tools for Youth

Colorful app to help kids ages 8-18 to identify and track emotions and body sensations (somatic component) as well as triggers, and access tools to help with relaxation, positivity, thinking, and other cognitive behavior therapy activities and to email their therapist. Apple (CBT Tools for Youth App (Apple)) app, small fee.

Cosmic Kids

Fun yoga adventures and Zen Den mindfulness videos for kids ages 3-9, for use at home or in schools. The Cosmic Kids Yoga and Zen Den Mindfulness website offers teacher training and yoga lesson plans for teachers to purchase as well as streaming options; videos also available on YouTube. Apple (Cosmic Kids Yoga and Zen Den Mindfulness App (Apple)) and Android (Cosmic Kids Yoga and Zen Den Mindfulness App (Android)) apps, free 2-week trial followed by subscription access.

DreamyKid

Meditations for ages 3 – 17. Categories include General Meditations (confidence-building, positive-thinking, etc.), Sleep Stories, Guided Journey, Healing Activities, Affirmations and Issue-Based Guided Meditations (ADD/ADHD, anxiety, overeating, etc.). Free and subscription versions; Apple (DreamyKid Meditation App (Apple)) and website-accessible (DreamyKid Meditations (Web Version)) versions.

HappiMe and HappiMe for Young People

Related apps with three versions for younger children, kids ages 11-17, and adults. Uses a playful approach to help kids decrease worry and promote confidence and self-esteem by recognizing and replacing unhelpful thoughts and dealing with emotions. Utilizes several therapeutic techniques including but not limited to cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and tapping (EFT). Free HappiMe (for children) Apple (HappiMe App (Apple)) and Android (HappiMe App (Android)) and HappiMe for Young People Apple (HappiMe for Young People App (Apple)) and Android (HappiMe for Young People App (Android)) apps.

Healing Buddies Comfort Kit

This app applies several integrative medicine techniques adapted for kids and teens that are quick and effective for symptom control and to help heal naturally; Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Free Apple (Healing Buddies Comfort Kit App (Apple)) app.

Manatee & Me

A playful mental health app for children with developmental ages 6-16. A chatbot provides exercise cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness and monitors progress towards selected goals. HIPAA compliant. Free Apple (Manatee & Me App (Apple)) and Android (Manatee & Me App (Android)) apps.

Moshi: Sleep and Mindfulness

This app for younger children offers relaxing, kid-pleasing stories, music, and relaxing sounds coupled with cute characters to reduce bedtime stress and anxiety and promote mindful moments during the day. Offers a limited version with in-app purchases or a free introductory trial with subscription, Apple (Moshi: Sleep and Mindfulness App (Apple)) and Android (Moshi: Sleep and Mindfulness App (Android)) app.

Smiling Mind

Smiling Mind is an extensive Australian mental health resource focused on mindfulness. The website (Smiling Mind) offers videos and resources for home, schools, and workplaces. The apps offer mindfulness programs geared to different age groups including ages 3-6, 7-9, 10-12, 13-15, and 16-18 years and adults, and sleep meditations for ages 12 and under. Free Apple (Smiling Mind App (Apple)) and Android (Smiling Mind App (Android)) apps.

SuperBetter

A game-based resilience app to achieve goals, alleviate anxiety, promote connectedness and mental flexibility using evidence-based techniques. Rated ages 4+ but suited for teens and adults. Free Apple (SuperBetter App (Apple)) and Android (SuperBetter App (Android)) apps.

Super Stretch Yoga

This app uses a superhero character to guide children through yoga poses and breathing. Helpful for calming, mindfulness, and sensory integration. Rated ages 4+ and appeals to children of young developmental age. Free Apple (Super Stretch Yoga App (Apple)) and Android (Super Stretch Yoga App (Android)) apps.

Authors & Reviewers

Initial publication: May 2020
Current Authors and Reviewers:
Author: Jennifer Goldman-Luthy, MD, MRP, FAAP
Contributing Author: Deirdre Caplin, Ph.D.