Calm Counter - Social Story and Anger Management Tool
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Calm Counter is a tool to help kids calm down using visual cues, counting backward from 10, and a deep breathing prompt. This simple yet powerful app includes two choices. There's a social story that reassures kids that we all get mad from time to time and then explains how to calm down by using the app's method in story form; there's also an "I need a break" exercise that kids can use to calm down. Calm Counter was designed for kids with autism and other challenges that may make it difficult to calm down, but this ingenious app's reminders for how to gather one's emotions could be useful for most any kid or adult.
What kids can learn
- handling stress
- labeling feelings
Health & Fitness
- mental health
Engagement, Approach, Support
Engagement of the calming sort. There's nothing exciting or attention-grabbing here, but that's the point. The simple social story and real-time, centering exercise are both engaging, in a calm way.
This app's focus is learning coping skills via the simple social story, which kids of a wide range of learning levels can comprehend, and then practicing those skills in real life through the calm counting exercise.
The social story acts as a tutorial for the calming exercise. Other than that, there's no extra guidance or help, other than three narration choices (male, female, and silent).
What's it about?
When you first purchase CALM COUNTER, listen to or read the social story to your kid to help them understand the gentle calming method that's provided on the other half of the app. Then, you can help your child tap the calming tool whenever he or she gets anxious or angry. Opening with the phrase, "I need a break," the screen turns bright red with a sad, mad face on it and the number 10. Tap the screen again, the screen color gets lighter and the face a little less angry and the number 9 is displayed. The colors, numbers, and faces continue to become lighter and happier with each tap, all the way to 1, where the kid is prompted to take a deep breath and see if they feel calmer.
Is it any good?
Calm Counter can assist kids in getting a handle on angry or anxious emotions. The social story is brief, simple, and inclusive ("Everybody gets angry."). Many kids will likely feel quite reassured by the fact that a tool like this even exists, normalizing their emotions. The visual, verbal, color, and counting cues provide exposure to strategies in ways that may appeal to kids with different learning styles. If kids use this method consistently, it may become second nature to say "I need a break" and begin to calm themselves when they're getting angry or anxious -- with or without the app.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Read or listen to the social story on this app before introducing the calming method.
Consider doing a practice run with your child, where you pretend you are (slightly) upset and use the app to show your kid how you use it to calm down.