Playing Mightier can be hard work, especially for kids who are just learning how to regulate their heart rate. Players are asked to pay attention to their heart rate and practice calming strategies while also playing a game. That's a lot of focus and a lot of breath work!
For more context, the Mightier games become harder when a player’s heart rate gets into the red zone. Lavalings appear, and the game they’re playing becomes more challenging. At this point, players are able to press on the gizmo, pause the game, and use a calming strategy to recover back to blue. Mightier helps children build awareness of their heart rate, and encourages them to practice calming techniques through this method. Repeating this process throughout their gameplay is how Mightier helps children develop better emotional control over time.
This process can be challenging for younger or newer game players, and frustrating for experienced players. While it is common to experience frustration at points during play, we do not want children to feel discouraged or unsuccessful. Here are some things to pay attention to, and suggestions for navigating frustration during play.
Specific games. Some Mightier games are strategic or fast-paced, and better suited for older or experienced players. Other games have less time pressure or are simpler for younger, novice players to navigate. If your player is frustrated by specific games, encourage them to explore the game library. The Game Directory also provides tutorials and play tips.
Younger players. Younger players oftentimes need a bit of help from parents during their first few play sessions, especially if they are new to videogames or are just learning how to read. Parents can sit with their child to help them understand the gizmo and zones, navigate the Mightier system, and find age appropriate games.
Time of day. We recommend that children play Mightier outside of moments of frustration, especially in their first few months of play. This is when they will be best able to focus and develop those fundamental abilities of emotional control. For children who are on medications that improve focus and concentration, there can also be a difference between mid-morning and evening play. Don’t be afraid to try different time periods to see what works best for your child and your family.
Difficulty level. If it seems that the heart rate challenge is too intense and your child needs more time to enjoy or practice Mightier without being in the red, reach out to the Family Care Team. They can make adjustments to the difficulty level.
Perception. Many children are used to thinking of “red” as a symbolic color for anger or failure. This is not the case within Mightier. The red zone simply means that your heart rate is elevated, which could come from anxiety, frustration, excitement or even jumping around. Although being in the red zone causes some interruption in play, it also presents children with the opportunity to cool down and earn chill points.
Session length. The effort it takes to practice heart rate control can be tiring. It’s okay to adjust play session length based on your child’s readiness and tolerance level. Some children do better with two larger chunks of play (20-25 minutes 2x/week), while others find more success with more frequent, shorter sessions (10-15 minutes 4-5x/week). It's okay to experiment and find the right cadence for your child.
Our goal and hope is to appropriately challenge children in a way that allows them to feel successful in their play and learning. If your child seems frustrated, defeated, or is not wanting to play, please reach out to our Family Care Team for support!