Cool downs are our way of telling you that your child is on the right track!
Cool downs are exactly what they sound like - the ability to cool down in terms of heart rate and emotional state. There's much more to this process than appears on the surface, however, and the repeated act of cooling down is incredibly important to your child's overall ability to regulate their emotions.
While playing Mightier, children's heart rates rise for a variety of reasons. They might be excited, stressed, anxious, or frustrated during game play, they might be jumping around, or a sibling might be talking too loudly in the other room. Mightier tracks a cool down as every time your child is able to bring their heart rate back down into their blue zone.
This is the magic of how Mightier works. By repeatedly bringing their heart rate down, your child is essentially training their brain and body to get VERY GOOD at returning to that state of calm. Think of it like learning to play music or shoot a basketball. At the beginning it takes a lot of focus and concentration to get your body to move and respond in a way that leads to that right sequence of notes or making the shot. Cooling down (bringing your heart rate down) is the same idea. At first, it can take focus and be hard work to bring your heart rate down. It's like learning a new skill, and your body isn't quite used to responding in this way yet. With time and practice, however, and repeated cool downs, the body begins to respond in this way more automatically. That means, eventually, with enough practice, that your child is developing a new learned response to stressors.
Does it matter if my child presses the gizmo to pause the game?
Great news! Pausing or not, they are learning AND practicing! Our science team took a look at the data. They found that there was no noticeable difference in progress for kids that were choosing to pause and those who were not. Mightier is all about understanding the connection between your brain and your body. During the first 4 to 6 weeks of play we love to see kids experimenting with their heart rate in both directions, trying out different strategies to bring their heart rate down, and playing around with pausing or not pausing during the game to get back down to the blue. These are all signs of progress. Some kids will click the gizmo to pause and watch Dr. Dragon lead them through a strategy, while some will try to continue to play while in the red and get their heart rate back down to the blue more independently. The primary goal is that players are bringing their heart rate back down to blue. Whatever your child chooses to do is all part of the Discovery Phase and gives your child autonomy and choice for their own skills to calm their body down.
Wondering what signs of progress to look for throughout your child's Mightier journey? Check out these videos on early, in-game signs as well as subtle emotional and behavioral shifts that tend to show up as children get further along in the program.
Contact our Family Care Team if you notice that your child is frustrated while playing, feels that playing is too difficult, or if you would like to talk through how Mightier works. Every child and every family is different, and there is not a "one size fits all" approach to learning. Our clinically trained team is happy to partner with you in figuring out how to help your family get the most out of Mightier.