According to research by Google, four in five parents are looking for well-being and mindfulness content for their children. Google searches for “mindfulness/meditation for kids” were up by a whopping 1,050 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.
The tech giant has now teamed up with meditation app Headspace to launch Headspace Breathers, a video series dedicated to helping families practice mindfulness.
See also Tips for Teaching Kids Meditation
The series launched today on YouTube, YouTube Kids, and the families.google blog with a six-minute episode centered on balancing emotions. The debut episode (watch above) includes testimonials from “young Headspacers” and a demonstration of a “fishbowl feeling practice,” where families can put names of feelings into a fishbowl, randomly select one and verbalize stories that express the chosen feeling. New episodes will be released weekly, hosted by kids mindfulness expert Samantha Snowden, who will lead families through other creative exercises and tips that can be used within the home and in the classroom.
The project has been in the works for a year, Emma Nemtin, Director of Media Partnerships at Headspace, tells Yoga Journal via email.
“We believe that teaching the next generation about the fundamentals of meditation and mindfulness will create a positive impact on their lives and those around them,” Nemtin says, regarding Headspace’s focus on creating more content geared towards children. “By providing mindfulness resources for kids in a simple and accessible way, our goal is to help them develop the skills that can help build qualities such as compassion, kindness, or even less stress.”
Episodes are also catered to specific audiences. Installments 1-3 are aimed at a co-viewing audience of parents/caregivers and kids, while 4-5 will each have two versions, one aimed at kids ages 4-6 and another for ages 7-12.
The themes for the episodes were culled from Google’s research, which indicated that families have faced unique struggles in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The themes include balancing emotions, helping kids focus, dealing with separation from loved ones and friends, and finding positivity.
But can the effects of, say, distanced learning and increased screen time for kids be addressed via, well, more screen time?
“Since the inception of Headspace, people often ask if technology and meditation are a bit oxymoronic but we see technology as an access point to all of our mindfulness content,” says Nemtin. “During the pandemic, families have had to rely on technology more than ever before. Whether it was for remote learning, entertaining or talking to friends and family, screen time has been a beneficial tool for getting through this difficult period. Rather than trying to completely combat screen time, we want to help kids and families strike healthy boundaries.” Indeed, Headspace Breathers will address the topic in an upcoming episode.
The market for mindfulness and meditation content geared towards younger audiences and children continues to grow; in January 2020, Headspace partnered with Mattel for a line of wellness-themed Barbie dolls. Last summer, the meditation app launched a series of mini-meditations with social media company Snapchat, called Headspace Mini. According to mobile application data analytics company Sensor Tower, Headspace is the second most downloaded mental wellness app in the U.S. (behind Calm) and has been downloaded over 65 million times (according to Headspace, it has been downloaded 70 million times).
The U.S. meditation app market is poised to be worth over 2 billion dollars by 2022.