If your kid is now immune to Samuel L. Jackson screaming, “go the f–k to sleep,” you might be wondering what else you can do to end the eternal bedtime struggle. Consider letting your iPhone whisper autotuned lullabies in their ear. These top sleep and meditation apps are designed to produce sleep-inducing sounds from pure white noise, to animal noises, to favorite nursery rhymes, to a British Buddhist guiding them through meditation exercises. That last one’s a bargain — have you seen what British Buddhists charge by the hour?
Headspace For Kids
A meditation app might sound like some Eat, Pray, Love BS, but there’s nothing ridiculous about a mentally calm, mindful kid. Headspace now offers kiddie editions of its popular breathing and visualization exercises. Customized for kids 5 and under, 6-to-8, and 9-to-12, former Buddhist monk and professional calm person Andy Puddicombe will talk some sense into your preschooler — helping them go from “Mommmm!” to “Ommmmm.”
Stop the lullaby karaoke-on-demand and just get Sleep Hero. You can select from a list of pre-recorded sounds, or upload your own nursery rhymes, songs, and stories (“Once upon a time there was a tired dad …”). When your baby starts wailing, the app responds by playing your selections. One downside: If they start getting bored listening to the same tracks over and over again, there’s pressure on you to record a follow-up album. And you know those are never as good as the debut.
Babies, unlike a-holes in movie theaters, respond well to being shushed. Also, the Baby Shusher doesn’t do its white noise thing in the same passive-aggressive manner that you do. Go and save your breath because the app will go lung-for-lung to match your baby’s volume when they start crying. You can also do your best annoyed librarian impression and record your own shushes.
Nott Won’t Sleep
If your kid won’t listen to you, maybe they’ll listen to a cartoon. Nott is a cute little purple dude (“dude” in the non-gendered sense, because who can tell?) who takes them on calming Goodnight, Moon-style video adventures to get them in their bed instead of jumping on it. Basically, you’re tricking them into going to sleep under the guise of bonus screen time.
Remember those Pink Floyd laser shows at your local planetarium? If you can, this app will bring back memories. Sleepy Sounds not only lets you play lullabies and soothing nature sounds on a loop, but it also displays an animated mobile to light up your kid’s room. Whether or not the music syncs up with The Wizard of Oz remains to be seen.
Goodnight Safari takes kids through an interactive story where they help lions, giraffes, and monkeys with eating dinner, going to bed, and giving a kiss goodnight (who are you to say they don’t, Jack Hannah?). It’s set up so that they can follow along or read aloud. And yes, they’ll learn about bedtime routines, but minus the daily struggle for survival on the Serengeti.
Designed by Oscar-nominated animator and illustrator Heidi Wittlinger, Nighty Night is a narrated story app about what barnyard animals do when the lights go out. (Like stage an allegory about the 1917 Russian Revolution?) As your kids watch the animals fall asleep in their stalls, they’ll hopefully follow suit. And, just like on a real farm, they’ll also be up with the rooster.