A weighted blanket is simply a blanket with weight added to it. The extra weight may provide the deep pressure your child needs to calm quicker, relax more, and sleep better. This article will briefly review uses, guidelines, and ideas on how-to-make a weighted blanket.
If children find a weighted blanket beneficial, you will know by their playing with, carrying, or covering their bodies. If they don’t show interest in the blanket, don’t force it. For those who need the deep pressure (think an extra big hug), the blanket may be useful in calming the anxieties and stressors of haircuts, doctor/dental appointments, parties, outings, and family gatherings. Also, having the blanket available to cuddle with in a quiet spot may be what is needed to help them self-sooth.
Here are a few guidelines when considering a weighted blanket:
Safety: Consider a child’s health, age, and abilities. It is never used to cover a child’s face and should be removable by the child. A child should never be forced to use a weighted blanket.
Weight: A general guideline is 10% of their body weight plus one pound for younger children.
Materials: Blankets with plastic (poly) beads tend to be washable, whereas, ones made with rice may not be washable. Consider your child’s preferences on clothing or blanket materials – soft, silky, bumpy, or plush.
Make or Purchase: Homemade blankets generally are more affordable than purchased ones.
For those interested in making a weighted blanket, the below links may be helpful.
Calming the Senses with Weighted Blankets:
Weighted Blanket Pattern:
Quick & Easy DIY No-Sew Weighted Blanket:
More tips on weighted blankets here:
By Kathy Van Zelfden, LMSW – Mental Health Specialist