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MIKAILA’S Mightier Story

Mikaila is a 10 year old Mightier player who lives in the Pacific Northwest of the United States with her sister, her mom and dad, their 2 dogs, and a cat. Mikaila is happy and energetic and has a big personality. Her mom, Cati, says, “If there was something more than 3-D, she would be it.” Mikaila loves dogs, she likes soccer, and she will be your best friend if you’re nice to her. She is also an excellent reader.

Why Mightier?

Before playing Mightier, Mikaila struggled with frustration tolerance. She had difficulties calming down when she was having big feelings. Mikaila and her mom decided to try Mightier on the recommendation of a therapist, who thought that Mightier might be able to help Mikaila strengthen her calming skills.

Getting Started

When we talked with Mikaila and her mom about their Mightier journey, Mikaila had been playing Mightier for more than a year, and had achieved almost 5000 cooldowns. So much time had passed since the beginning of their Mightier experience that Mikaila and her mom did not remember when the Mightier kit first arrived. Cati remembers that it took a while for Mikaila to learn how to breathe effectively when she first started playing. It took a lot of practice.

Mightier was something that Mikaila felt was personal, and just for her – initially, she did not necessarily want to talk about Mightier with her family. So Cati gave Mikaila space and let her figure it out in her own way, in her own time. Though some kids need more hands on support from an adult when they’re getting started with Mightier, letting Mightier play be completely child-driven worked well for Mikaila and her family.

Seeing Progress

Cati and Mikaila do not remember a distinct “Aha!” moment when they knew that Mightier was working for Mikaila, but they have noticed a lot of changes since Mikaila started to play. Cati says, “We did notice that there was a change. In a way it’s hard to sift it out. She started playing Mightier at the start of COVID, so there were lots of feelings. And she started becoming more aware when there were big feelings, and able to have more of a conversation about it.” Overall, Cati is glad that the family decided to give Mightier a whirl – “I think Mikaila is doing really well, considering that the world has turned upside down while she’s been playing Mightier.”

Mikaila concurs. After playing Mightier for a while, she noticed that she started breathing more when she was frustrated. And she started noticing that she was frustrated before her frustration became overwhelming. She started having an easier time identifying calming strategies that worked for her, like breathing while hugging her dog, or listening to music. And Mikaila grew more comfortable talking about how she was doing. “I feel like I can express my feelings more than I used to. I feel like I can talk more openly about things that might have made me upset or sad.”

Cati’s Tips for Parents

We asked Cati and Mikaila if they have any advice for people just starting out with Mightier, or for people who have not tried Mightier yet. Cati recommends the hands-off approach she used with Mikaila when they first started with Mightier, and emphasized the importance of kids being able to experience their own power and autonomy while they’re playing Mightier. She also advises parents to be patient, because it can take a while to see that Mightier is helping. “I would say be patient with your child and with yourself, and that nothing works all the time and nothing works immediately. It takes time. But be informed. Get information that you can, to help you understand it.”

Cati encourages families to give Mightier a try. “It has the potential to be a really important tool in the toolbox. It does seem to work.”

Advice from Mikaila

Mikaila recommends that kids who are just starting out with Mightier think about what they like most and find the games that get them most excited. Her favorite lavaling is Lucy, who “goes with their own flow,” and her favorite games are Rooms of Doom and Runaway Toad. For kids who are seeking a challenge, Mikaila recommends Unpossible or You Must Build a Boat. For families who have not tried Mightier yet, Mikaila has just two words of advice – “Start now.”