Weighted blankets have gained popularity among adults and children. These therapeutic tools have numerous benefits, especially for kids with conditions like anxiety, sensory processing disorders, and autism. In this post, we’ll explore what a weighted blanket is, ways it could help your child, and how to choose the right one.
Benefits of Weighted Blankets for Kids
A weighted blanket mimics a therapeutic technique called deep pressure stimulation. This gentle compression has a calming effect, promoting relaxation and improved sleep.
- Reduces anxiety: Many children experience anxiety, which can disrupt sleep and daily activities. Weighted blankets can help alleviate anxiety symptoms by providing a sense of security and comfort.
- Improves sleep quality: The deep pressure provided by weighted blankets can help children relax, fall asleep faster, and sleep more deeply.
- Helps with sensory processing disorders: Children with sensory processing issues can find the firm, reliable compression of a weighted blanket soothing.
- Benefits children on the autism spectrum: Weighted blankets can be particularly helpful for children on the autism spectrum who also have co-occurring sleep disorders.
- Eases transitions: A weighted blanket provides comfort and consistency for children who struggle with changes, such as starting at a new school.
How to Choose the Right Weighted Blanket
While weighted blankets can be advantageous, they are not suitable for everyone. Health providers do not recommend them for children under 2, or for those who have respiratory problems, circulatory issues, or temperature regulation difficulties. Always supervise your child when they use a weighted blanket for the first time.
Use these tips to help you choose a weighted blanket for your child.
- Correct weight: A general guideline is to select a blanket that’s around 10% of your child’s body weight plus one or two pounds. For example, a six-pound blanket is typically suitable for a 50-pound child.
- Size: The blanket should fit your child’s body, not necessarily the bed. To ensure it doesn’t fall off the bed overnight, it should cover your child from chin to feet without hanging over the sides.
- Material: Consider the fabric, especially if your child has sensitivities. Cotton is usually a good choice for its breathability. Also, check if the blanket is washable, which is essential for maintaining hygiene.
- Consult a professional: It’s always wise to consult with an occupational therapist or pediatrician, especially if your child has specific therapeutic needs.
Elevate Your Family’s Sleep Routine
Weighted blankets can be valuable for children with various challenges. They provide a simple, effective way to calm and comfort your child, promoting better sleep and relaxation. When choosing a weighted blanket, remember to consider its weight, size, and material, and consult a professional if needed. Your child can enjoy a more peaceful and restful experience with a weighted blanket.
At Project Play Therapy, our team is passionate about helping children reach their fullest potential through school and clinic services. Connect with us today if your child needs support to become more independent and improve skills like communicating, following directions, and expressing their emotions.