Parent life can be hectic and stressful. Find your calm with these seven meditation apps, which teach mindfulness for little or no cost.

By Nicole Harris
Updated February 07, 2020

Put simply, meditation is the act of slowing down and letting your mind focus on one thing, instead of the fifty-five things we know you’re juggling as a parent at any given second. It’s a mind-body practice that encourages mental clarity and emotional stability by tapping into mindfulness, focused breathing, and other calming techniques. But this practice doesn’t need to be costly or time-consuming; in fact, parents can download apps that help you meditate anywhere (including on the bathroom floor when you need a five-minute break from screaming children!) Here, we’ve rounded up the seven best mindfulness apps for moms and dads.

The Mindfulness App

Best for: Those just getting started with mindfulness

Completely new to mindfulness? Consider downloading this app, which gives a five-day introduction to the practice. Users can choose from guided and silent sessions ranging from 3 minutes to 30 minutes in length (including ones geared toward pregnant women). The short practices let you squeeze in meditation while your kid is, say, taking his afternoon nap or playing with his race cars. The Mindfulness App also provides encouraging reminders and statistics. A premium version for $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year gives you an additional 250+ guided meditations. (Get it on the App Store or Google Play). 

Stop, Breathe & Think

Best for: Understanding and managing your emotions

As its name suggests, this app invites you to stop what you’re doing, breathe mindfully, and broaden your perspective through thinking. Start each session by checking in with your emotions and engaging with a customizable breathing timer. Then choose one of 55 tailored meditations to improve focus, reduce stress, get better sleep, and shove negative emotions out the door. The app also tracks your progress and rewards stickers along the way.

Although Stop, Breathe & Think is a free meditation app, you can also upgrade to a premium membership ($9.99 per month or $58.99 per year). You’ll gain access to an additional 50+ meditations, yoga and acupressure videos, and more soundscape options.(Get it on the App Store or Google Play). 

knape/Getty Images
knape/Getty Images

Headspace

Best for: Specific focuses like sleep, productivity, and stress management

Headspace markets itself as your “everyday guide to health and happiness.” Users can access select content with a free account, such as the 10-day “Basics” course for beginners. You can also test out the entire Headspace library with a limited free trial, then decide if you want to pay $12 per month (or $69.99 per year) for a subscription. The hundreds of guided meditations have specific focuses, including sleep, stress management, exercise, productivity, and more.  As a bonus for busy moms and dads, “mini meditations” give a quick mental reset in only two or three minutes, while “SOS” sessions help you reduce panic quickly. The 30-day "pregnancy pack" also helps moms-to-be have a strong, healthy prenatal journey. (Get it on the App Store or Google Play). 

Expectful

Best for: Couples who are trying to conceive, pregnant, or postpartum

Expectful takes parents through every step of their fertility journey: preconception, pregnancy, and parenthood. It seeks to foster the connection between your mind and your baby through mindfulness practices. Indeed, according to the Expectful website, mindfulness can enhance fertility, balance hormones, increase compassion, reduce stress, foster a stronger connection with your baby, improve immunity, and lead to an overall healthier pregnancy and postpartum period. 

Expectful’s mindfulness programs are available in 5, 10, and 20-minute formats. They were developed with the help of fertility experts, scientific researchers, meditation guides, and parents themselves. Try out the app for free to decide if you want a subscription for $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year. (Get it on the App Store and Google Play). 

Calm

Best for: Achieving overall mindfulness in quick sessions

More than 700,000 reviewers rated Calm 4.8 stars on the App Store. If that’s not enough, Calm has over 50 million downloads, and it was an Apple Best of 2018 award winner—so you know it’s a trustworthy, effective meditation tool! 

Calm helps users achieve better sleep, less anxiety, and less stress. Guided meditations in various topics are available in 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 minute sessions—so even the busiest parent can make time to practice! In addition, the app’s “Sleep Stories” will help you catch some zzzs, and it features audio by celebrities like Matthew McConaughey and Stephen Fry. Users also love the breathing programs, stretching exercises, 10-minute “ Daily Calm” program, soothing nature sounds, and other features. Subscriptions are $14.99 per month $69.99 per year—although you can also rely on a free version of the app. (Get it on the App Store  or Google Play). 

Mind the Bump

Best for: Those expecting a baby

This comprehensive app helps you “mentally and emotionally prepare” for new parenthood. The mindfulness exercises encourage users to build a connection with Baby-to-be, deal with the upcoming change, and reduce stress. They were developed by a series of psychologists and psychiatrists, and they’re relevant during pregnancy until 24 months after birth. Mind the Bump isn’t just for expecting moms, either; fathers, same-sex couples, and single parents can use the free app too! (Get it on the App Store and Google Play). 

Insight Timer

Best for: Free guided meditations

Insight Timer won recognition from TIME magazine and Women's Health as a great mindfulness app. Users choose from more than 25,000 free guided meditations led by top mindfulness experts and scientists. The app also has thousands of music tracks, a meditation timer, discussion groups, and stats for tracking progress. Beginners and advanced meditators alike will enjoy the easy-to-follow interface!

While Insight Timer has a comprehensive free option, you can also choose a premium version ($59.99 per year or $9.99 per month) for added features. These include personally curated playlists, insight courses, and the ability to listen offline. (Get it on the App Store  or Google Play). 

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