This week, tech-for-good start-up Stix Mindfulness launches a new product with the aim to support children’s mental well-being through fun, interactive mindfulness activities.
Their new device, The Stix Remotes, aims to support children’s mental well-being by guiding them through a variety of fun, therapeutic activities; involving balancing, deep breathing, guided meditations and more. Children can track progress and earn age-appropriate rewards on the Stix app, encouraging continued practice through positive reinforcement.
The award-winning innovation has been designed for 5–12-year-olds in response to the alarming rise in mental health care referrals among young people. An estimated 1 in 6 children and young people in the UK now have a diagnosable mental health condition, and many may continue to have these problems into adulthood.
The benefits of mindfulness are well-researched: not only does mindfulness help to reduce anxiety and stress, but it also improves focus, emotional regulation, sleep and family relationships. Stix Mindfulness has been collaborating with Brunel University London to create a mindfulness programme built into their technology, that presents a journey for children to progress through, developing different well-being techniques along the way.
“All children can benefit from developing a mindfulness practice at a young age. I started using a mindfulness app when I was 17 years old to support exam stress and realised soon after that it would have benefited me throughout my entire school career had I started at a young age,” said Liam Murphy, co-founder of Stix Mindfulness.
Stix Mindfulness is unique in the way mindfulness is introduced to children. They comprise of two interactive remotes, one held in each hand, that guide the child through mindful activities such as “Belly Breathing” and “Ball of Light”. The Stix Remotes monitor their movements and provide feedback through audio-based instructions, lights and vibrations to keep them focused and engaged.
After completing mindfulness activities, children can sync back up to the app, where they are then rewarded with badges and stars, which can be used on the app to customise their own mindful monster. Liam says “We spoke with families and found that a key driver to continuing healthy habits at home is being rewarded – children value rewards – and so we decided that this would be central for our product offering to encourage children to develop a mindfulness practice”
Lily, aged 7, from London, said: “Stix helps me when I’ve had a stressful day of school or I need to calm down at the end of the day. I love using them before I go to sleep as it relaxes me. They are really amazing!”