Bottom Line: Five animated stories provide relaxation and regulation techniques for children. As they watch the animals get through tense situations, kids learn strategies like focused breathing and body regulation. This app is a must for anyone helping a child with learning to calm down and stay focused. The price is a little high, but it will be the best $4.99 you spend.
External links in the parent section to the Chill Outz website for video guide, FAQs and disclaimer. No child lock.
If you have a child with special needs, or work with any children who have special needs, my advice is to stop reading the review right now and go download Chill Outz. It’s one of those apps I wish I had a long time ago. As I reviewed it with a paraprofessional at my elementary school, we immediately thought of five different kids who need to use this app. As I worked through each of the strategies to review, I found myself a lot more relaxed and regulated, too.
Just in case you decided to read on (maybe you’re feeling a little bit like Panicky Penguin and you’re not ready to make a purchase yet), here’s a little more about this amazing app. Chill Outz was developed by a child psychologist, with a purpose on the website “to develop creative, fun, engaging and polished progressive relaxation and mindfulness apps for children to help them face and overcome fears and obstacles.” I love this purpose already, and as a speech-language pathologist I work with so many kids who need help in these areas.
The characters in Chill Outz are engaging for young kids. There’s a noisy alien who gets a little overstimulated in unfamiliar environments who learns body relaxation. By progressively “turning off” over-excitability in a body, a child can gradually calm down and be OK in situations that are a little too much. Many students with autism benefit from this kind of support. Buzzy Bee buzzes around in a very hyper fashion, unable to calm his engine until he learns how to calm down with humming. This is a great regulation technique for kids who are hyperactive, and certainly is useful even for me, when I get to buzzing about with all of the responsibilities of a busy caseload.
My 11-year old son really benefits from the techniques taught to Panicky Penguin. He has a lot of anxiety, and the focused breathing helps to center and refocus when the panic takes over. There are definitely students on my caseload with the same profile, and they’re already loving his helpful techniques. And Timid Turtle is similar–he has a lot of fears in the environment. Instead of letting anxiety take over, teach kids to shrug to release the fears.
Finally, Sleepy Bear learns how to calm down to sleep with relaxation breathing. This alone is a great strategy for almost all kids who fight bedtime routines and calming. Relax and rest along with Sleepy Bear.
Each animal is featured in a 3-4 minute animated story video. There is no other interaction, aside from following along as the characters demonstrate the techniques. I would love to see a little interaction included–perhaps a little game where kids can help each animal remember their strategy, after the video is done.
Other than benefitting from a little interaction, Chill Outz is also a little bit high in cost. For $4.99, I would expect some reinforcement games to help kids learn more about the strategies, or even a parent section describing more how to use the app. However, it is still well worth the cost, and will soon be one of my most-used apps. In addition to my caseload, I’m also part of the nonviolent crisis intervention team at my school. This app will be invaluable to help upset kids regulate and calm down.
Heather also used Noisy Alien to help her body calm down after suddenly coming down with a stomach virus at school.