Tame Your Thought Monster is an interactive app that teaches kids emotional regulation, positive self-talk, and mindfulness. Recommended for children ages eight and up, it uses fun characters and silly monsters to teach its lessons. Parents and children draw what they are learning, among other activities, to help them identify and regulate their emotions and thoughts. The app costs $1.99 and the recommended manual for parents is $19.95.
Tame Your Thought Monster does a good job of breaking down how thoughts, feelings, and circumstances influence our behavior and outlook. Each factor is personified by a different character who guides the user through the exercise. For example, Charlie the Robot encourages looking at the facts of a situation before assuming people’s motivations and intentions. The child then reads a story and practices picking out only the facts rather than the emotions. This approach makes the daunting process of learning to regulate emotions more manageable.
The app also does a great job of allowing children to interact with the content in many ways. They can read the lesson, or listen to it while coloring on the page. But the best part is the way drawing is used. For many children, it might be hard to identify their emotions, but drawing provides a bridge to help them in starting to express themselves. For example, one activity asks the kids to draw a picture that represents how they’re feeling at the moment. To spark their imagination, it asks questions such as "Is the feeling fluffy or pointy?" or "Is the feeling cold or hot?" This seems like an effective way for children to connect with their emotions.
Many of these concepts may be new for parents. The recommended manual goes into more depth about these concepts and helps parents become better guides for their kids.
There is a lot of instruction in the app, and it might be a lot of information for younger kids to take in at once. I would have preferred more drawing breaks, or other activities, in between the lessons. Videos might also be helpful in showing kids how to use these tools, to reinforce the points made in the reading. In some cases, the language probably could be simplified to more clearly convey the point.
All the drawings made in the app need to be saved separately. You are prompted to do so any time you leave a page where you drew something. It would be better if the drawings were saved automatically, and also if they could be accessed at anytime within the app.
Tame Your Thought Monster is an engaging and comprehensive way for parents and kids to learn how to increase self-awareness and be kinder to themselves and others. I’d recommend it to any parent who wants to teach their children mindfulness and emotional regulation.Image: via Tame Your Thought Monster