How Video Games are Helping My Kids With Emotional Regulation

Posted on Sep 14 2018 - 11:31pm by My Little Villagers
This is a sponsored post written by Cristina Margolis on behalf of Mightier. All opinions are 100% mine.

My kids have been playing video games for years now, but they are currently obsessed with a new and unique video game program called Mightier. Mightier is a fantastic program with fun and engaging bioresponsive games that teach children how to regulate their emotions. There are currently 16 great games offered, but my kids spend most of their time playing their favorite Mightier game, Kitty in the Box. (Yes, it’s just as adorable as it sounds.)

Unboxing Mightier

I was initially drawn to Mightier, because my nine-year old daughter has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and emotional disregulation, impulsivity, and meltdowns are common occurrences for her. I thought Mightier would also be beneficial for my six-year old daughter who suffers from anxiety. Thankfully, Mightier allows you to add more than one child on an account.

So how does Mightier work? Basically, a child wears a Mighty band, which is a heart rate monitor, on their non-dominant arm that connects via bluetooth to their device. (We have played Mightier on an iPad, iPhone, and Androids and it has worked marvelously on all of them.) The Mightier app can be downloaded via the App Store or Google Play. My nine-year old has sensory issues, so I was worried about the Mighty band irritating her, but she has had zero issues with it. The strap is surprisingly very soft and flexible.

When playing the games, Mightier detects when the child’s heart rate is increasing, resulting in them getting in the red zone of their gizmo (a visual representation of their emotions, which is pretty dang cool if you ask me). When kids are in the red zone, the game becomes more difficult. For example, in the game Flying Ace (another one of my nine-year old’s favorite games), clouds appear on the screen and block her view of her airplane when her heart rate increases. In order to make the clouds go away, she has to breathe deeply to bring her heart rate down. An adorable friendly dragon in the game helps her take these deep breaths. Once she is back in the blue, the clouds disappear and she is able to play again.

Playing Mightier on the iPad

To be completely honest, I was very concerned about my nine-year old becoming so frustrated with being in the red, that she wouldn’t be able to quickly get back in the blue and would lose interest in playing Mightier altogether. To my surprise however, it only takes her an average of 13 seconds to accomplish this. When she loves a game and is motivated to keep playing, she is able to concentrate on her deep breathing quickly and efficiently. Now I’m just hoping such technology can be incorporated into games such as Minecraft, as there are far too many times where she has said she’s been a little irritated at other people “destroying her Minecraft building” when playing online using Minecraft Hosting services for her iPad or any other device. I let her play Minecraft a lot due to the building aspect allowing her creativity to run absolutely rampant and wild in a virtual world, meaning my real world doesn’t get as messy… Anyway, she’s actually been off Minecraft for a little while as she’s been enjoying Mightier more. Also, it helps that she is obsessed with earning acorns (points)! Acorns allow you to purchase more Mightier games and even accessories for your characters (Ex. Glasses and aprons for your kitty in Kitty in the Box). A terrific perk Mightier has implemented into the games is the option to pause the game instead of playing through it when the child needs to calm down and get back in the blue. That way, the child doesn’t lose any time or miss anything in the game.

Eventually, children will benefit from Mightier by learning to apply their deep breathing techniques from the games they play to real life situations. When a child begins to feel angry, frustrated, sad, or upset about something, their muscle memory will essentially take over and they will react to the situation and control their emotions by breathing deeply, just like they have been doing with Mightier all along. Studies at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital show that after 12 weeks of regular use (45 minutes per week), the children’s outbursts were reduced by 62%, oppositional behavior was reduced by 40%, and parents’ stress levels were reduced by 19%.

Screenshot Taken from Mightier’s Welcome Webinar

As a parent enrolled in the Mightier Foundation Prgram, what I really love about Mightier is the support we have received from the beginning. Parents attend an informative Welcome Webinar and are able to ask questions at the end. Six 30-minute phone calls with an experienced Mightier clinical coach are also scheduled at your convenience. It is recommended to schedule a call about every two weeks. During the phone call, you are able to discuss your child’s progress, tackle any obstacles together, and come up with a game plan. Mightier truly understands that it takes a village! During my last phone call, our Mightier coach and I discussed how to squeeze Mightier into my family’s busy schedules and we came up with the idea to have my kids play in the car on our way to and from after school activities. Another excellent time for one of my kids to play Mightier is when we are waiting for their sibling to finish their after school activity.

Another great perk about using Mightier is the awesome dashboard. I’m able to log in to my Mightier dashboard at any time and view how many minutes my children have played in the past 7 days, how many acorns (points) they’ve earned each day, what game they played the most, how many times their heart rate rose out of the blue in one hour, and how many seconds it took for them to get out of the red. I find incredibly beneficial (and fascinating) to be able to see and measure my children’ emotions. The dashboard is also filled with fabulous resources, including tips, articles, and videos for parents. Mightier has also created a private Mightier Facebook Community, where you can discuss strategies and share tips and advice with one another. With Mightier, there is such an incredible amount of support right from the beginning and as a parent to two kids struggling with emotional dysregulation, surrounding myself with coaches and other parents that understand is truly a Godsend.

Part of My Mightier Dashboard Tracking My Daughter’s Activity

We are still in the first month playing Mightier and I am very happy and pleased with the results so far. While my children are having fun playing games, they are understanding how their body reacts to frustration, anger, and sadness, and more importantly, they are learning how to control their heart rate and calm themselves down on their own through deep breathing. I am very excited for the near future when my children will be able to listen to their body’s warning signs in real life and then respond by using the skills they have learned from Mightier. Who knew that by simply playing a game, kids could learn to be in control of their mighty emotions.

So what are you waiting for? Click here to start using Mightier! I recommend the Starter Program ($129), which comes with a three month subscription to all the games and a Mightier band (heart rate monitor), as well as access to the Mightier webinars, coach, parent hub, and resources. If for whatever reason you are not satisfied with Mightier, Mightier will refund your entire purchase if you notify them within 90 days of your purchase. If you wish to continue using Mightier after the third month, the monthly fee is $19.

Want to win a Mightier Starter Program for free? One lucky ADHD Awareness Contributor (Patron of My Little Villagers) will be winning one for the October 2018 ADHDmazing Giveaway! Not signed up yet? Not a problem! Sign up at any level before October 31, 2018 and you will be entered to win this ADHDmazing Giveaway! (The more you contribute, the more your chances of winning increases and the more ADHDmazing perks and rewards you get!)

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