Weighted Blankets are gaining more popularity because of the benefits it brings. If you’re looking a weighted blanket for kids, you’re in the right place because we will help you find the right match for your child’s utmost comfort.
What is a Weighted Blanket?
The name “weighted blanket” almost explains itself; it's a blanket that weighs more than a usual blanket. Its weight is typically 10% of a person’s weight and an additional pound. The materials inside the blanket consist of different things like beads, poly pellets, rice, metal, etc. depending on how you want to feel the blanket and how you wash it.
For a short history lesson, it was invented primarily for people with special needs. Therapists suggest it to their patients as a therapeutic product to help people especially kids with autism, attention disorders, ADHD, OCD, and the likes. It helps them relax and have better sleeps. But now it gained popularity because people discovered that it also works for people like adults who experience anxiety and sleeping issues.
What is The Science Behind Weighted Blankets?
How does a weighted blanket help a person to relax and feel at ease? Well, the science behind it is a three letter acronym called DTP which mean Deep Touch Pressure. A weighted blanket applies soft and gentle pressure to a person in to increase the release of a particular hormone called serotonin.
The serotonin is a chemical hormone that induces relaxation. Children with problems such as autism, OCD, PTSD, tend to have lower serotonin compared to others that’s why the target user for the weighted blankets are for children with disorders.
How to Find The Right Weighted Blanket For Kids
Before anything else, remember that weighted blankets are not suggested for two years old and below. The weighted blanket for 3 year old and above can use these type of blankets. The weight, size, materials inside the blanket, along with other specifications, depends on your child. You can’t just buy any weighted blanket for it can bring adverse effects to your kids. Weighted blankets even have different colors, designs, patterns, and style, that can match your kid’s bedroom and something that they might like.
How heavy a weighted blanket depends on how heavy your kids are. The computation goes like this, determine first the weight of your child and compute for its 10% then add 1 or 2 pounds to it, that should be the weight of the blanket. A 5 pound weighted blanket for kids is perfect for children that weigh around 30-40lbs.
For older kids that are in between 11-16 years old, you can buy more than a 5 lb weighted blanket for toddlers; it can weigh 10 or 15 lbs. But for some instances, others prefer it to be heavier or lighter depends on the comfort it brings.
The size of your weighted blanket also depends on your height. Choose the size that will fully cover your kid’s body up to their feet and also consider the size of the frame of their bed. In this way, they’ll have the comfort and will fit their bed exactly. Don’t buy a large sizeable weighted blanket that will make it hang down on the side of your kid’s bed since it might fall over.
Several fillings can put up the weight in the blankets. Each type of fillings has its pros and cons. Plastic poly pellets are like small pebbles that are made from polypropylene; It is the most traditional filling in weighted blankets. Poly pellets are durable and washable but plastic and can sometimes create a bad odor.
There are micro glass beads which are like grains of sand and are smaller than poly pellets. With it being significantly tinier than poly pellets, it feels softer and smoother when laid on the body compared to poly pellets. A glass bead is also durable and long-lasting, plus, you don’t have to worry about using a plastic one and smelling any unpleasant odor.
You can also try dried beans, rice grains, corn, or even aquarium stones if you want to save money. These fillings can move to a side of the blanket when not properly place inside, so make sure you check if it's evenly distributed or opt for a pocket-type blanket.
Check The Materials
If your kids have specific allergies to some fabrics, make sure to check the materials of the weighted blanket that you’re going to choose. There are weighted blankets that are made up of cotton, fleece, satin, etc. that are hypoallergenic, so it prevents your kids from getting allergies from their blankets.
Different Types Of Weighted Blankets For Kids
There are several kinds of weighted blankets, so it's best to know what each one is before buying so that you’re sure that it's what your kids need.
Box-type or pockets
These kinds of weighted blankets have a series of pockets that are square type wherein the weights like glass beads, poly pellets, rice, etc. are held. It's like a series of boxes in a single weighted blanket that can have different materials inside. It comes with different textures, designs, and colors.
Infused Weighted Blankets
There are also weighted blankets that the weights are distributed evenly into the blanket, and we call it infused or channel-compartment weighted blankets. It has a channel compartment that permits the loads to be fully dispersed into the weighted blanket thus giving your kids the same amount of weight throughout their body while they are sleeping. This type of weighted blanket keeps the fillings from moving, so it provides a more soothing and soft feeling.
Wearable Weighted Blankets
If you want an all-day comfort for your kids, you can opt for a wearable weighted blanket that will serve as a vest. If they get stressed or anxious, you can simply lay them down and get them to relax. There are different colors, styles, and design that you can choose from to make your kids comfortable and fashionable at the same time.
Fully Sewn Weighted Blankets
There are also available weighted blankets that are fully sewn together, so the cover isn’t removable. It makes the blanket washable and is perfect for your kids who have trouble sleeping.
DIY Weighted Blankets
If you have the skills or talent to sew your own weighted blankets, you can opt for a DIY weighted blanket. You’ll need a sewing machine, some scissors, threads, a measuring tape, and some pins. You can choose whatever fabric you want for the cover it can be chenille, cotton, fleece, etc.
For the fillings, select what specific kind you will use like plastic pellets, glass beads, poly-fill, etc. If you want a cheaper one, you can try rice grains to replace micro glass beads or dried beans as an alternative for poly pellets. Just measure the weight and height of your kids to determine the volume of fillings you should place inside and to know the size of the weighted blanket.
Based On The Fabric Used
You can classify weighted blankets depending on what material or fabric is used. These blankets bring different sensations to a person so finding the right fabric for your kid is best.
Chenille Weighted Blankets
There are also weighted blankets that are made up of chenille. It is the softest type of weighted blanket any manufacturer can offer. Mainly because chenille is a type of fabric that is very soft and fluffy. It provides a new level of comfort because we all know that anything that's soft and fluffy can be relaxing. You can choose this type of weighted blanket for your kids to give them comfort while sleeping.
Cotton Weighted Blankets
If you frequently choose cotton as a fabric for your clothes, beddings, towels, etc., well you can also have weighted cotton blankets. This type of weighted blanket is made up of 100% cotton giving the user a cool and refreshing feeling.
Using it even in cold room temperature will not make the fabric hot and will help your kid’s body heat to dissipate when they are sleeping. There is also a breathable type of cotton weighted blankets that we suggest for children and even adults with sensory disorders.
Fleece Weighted Blankets
Fleece is a type of fabric that is similar to a sheep’s coat like wool. With technology today, Fleece is created synthetically from polyester. Manufacturers can also create fleece from recycled plastic, so it is less expensive and is eco-friendly. Weighted Blankets made of fleece can keep your kids warm and cozy while sleeping.
It is also durable so it will last long for your kids to use every day, whenever what time of the day it is. Fleece weighted blankets can be a treatment for kids with autism or sensory disorders.
Minky Weighted Blankets
Like chenille, minky is a very soft fabric made up of 100% polyester. A baby’s blanket, clothes, and accessories are usually made up of chenille, due to its softness. Now, there are weighted blankets that are made up of minky fabric to offer comfort and gentleness while sleeping. Minky fibers are shorter than chenille, so it has a silky texture. If you live in a cold environment or your kids have cold body temperature, a weighted minky blanket can keep you warm and makes your kids relaxed at the same time.
Waterproof Weighted Blankets
Lucky for you, there are also waterproof weighted blankets. It also has features of being fire resistant and anti-microbial. This kind of weighted blanket creates a wall to prevent liquids but is still breathable. Water vapor leaves from inside the blanket so that your kids can sleep comfortably without worrying about getting agitated with sweating.
Waterproof weighted blankets are perfect for bringing on a vacation at the beach, for outdoor picnics and camping. In this way, they still experience the same comfort when they sleep at home. A waterproof weighted blanket can come in handy when your kids need to relax or calm down when on vacation.
How To Introduce Weighted Blankets To Your Kids
Kids that use blankets can quickly adapt to using weighted ones. But for others, especially kids with disorders, it can be a challenge for them to try. So here are tips to help you how you’re going to introduce weighted blankets to your children:
- The first rule when it comes to presenting something to your children is never to force them to try it immediately. You can set to be an example by trying it first and letting them know that it will bring no harm to them.
- Putting a weighted blanket may give a little pressure at first so don’t rush things into them. You can convince them to try it first on their feet and ask how they feel about it. If it comes with positive feedback, try laying it on their whole body.
- You can experiment with it by wrapping them with the weighted blanket while they’re playing on the floor, reading books on the couch, or having a picnic outdoors.
- If your child needs a constant need for a weighted blanket, you can set up a small nook or tent where they can go to whenever they feel the need for comfort and relaxation.
How To Wash Weighted Blankets For Kids
Sure you have the best kind of weighted blanket because it's fabric material is known to be durable. How you clean and take care of it also determines how long it will last. You know that weighted blankets are not all the same; they can differ on the material, the weights, and how it was made. So every blanket has its own specifications on how you take care of it. You can look for a “care tag” in your blanket to check if there are specific instructions on how you take care of it.
You have to remember that a weighted blanket can be heavy up to 20 pounds. So because of its weight, it's not practical to clean it in a washing machine. To spare your washing machine from wearing off because of the heavy load, you have the option to bring it to a laundromat and go to their biggest, commercial size machine.
But if you’re weighted blanket weighs less than 20 pounds you can wash it at home and choose a mild detergent and use cold water for washing. Set it with a gentle cycle to maintain the blanket’s integrity. The weights inside your blanket can be delicate to wash so soft washing is preferred, but micro glass beads and plastic poly pellets will be fine in the washing machine.
As for drying, do not hang your weighted blanket from one edge because it will strain your blanket and may cause it to lose its shape. You can hang it up evenly on a laundry line or spread it on a clean surface.
Stay Away From Bleach and Fabric Softener
Take note of this carefully, avoid using bleach or fabric softener because it can cause damage to your weighted blanket. Bleach can break down the fabric’s fibers which will make your blanket wear off faster. If it is inevitable to use bleach when there are stains, you can try to use non-chlorine types of bleach, and you can use a toothbrush to clean away the stains. In the case of fabric softeners, sure they make your blankets smell great but it can build up and may lead to your blanket becoming croaky.
Benefits Of Weighted Blankets For Kids
Many benefits come with buying weighted blankets, especially for your kids. It can increase their focus, mood, and being able to rest well at night. Here are some of the benefits that you can get from using weighted blankets:
Weighted Blankets Keep Them Calm
We all know that kids like to play throughout the day, and they can experience times that they get bored or agitated. With a weighted blanket, it keeps them calm all through the day. It gives them a sense of comfort while they’re playing, watching tv, and even when they are on the outdoors.
One study states that a deep touch pressure from a weighted blanket reduces nervous system activities in a person, meaning they are calm and at peace, therefore preventing anxieties from happening. The focus of the study was on dental environments because we all know kids or even adults get scared when going to the dentist.
Weighted Blankets Make Kids Feel An Embrace
We all know everyone likes warm hugs from time to time, especially kids. There are instances that kids have the impulse to hug someone when they see or feel that they are sad. And when kids get hurt, they cry and run toward their parent to get a hug. A hug convinces them that everything will be alright.
Well, a hug is similar to how weighted blankets work. With a weighted blanket, your kids can always feel a warm embrace while they sleep or play, therefore increasing their serotonin levels. They can peacefully sleep or comfortably play around the house.
Weighted Blanket Improves Their Quality Of Sleeping
Kids when sleeping can feel scared of the dark or of imaginary creatures. It can be hard for them to fall asleep because they don’t feel secure. They can even experience nightmares while sleeping causing them to experience fatigue and lack of sleep. For your kids to get entirely comfortable and protected while in bed, you can give them a weighted blanket.
It will induce a deep touch pressure which will make them feel safe from any “monsters” and be able to fall asleep faster. It is because of the increase in serotonin and also another hormone called melatonin which helps improve sleep and sleep activity. They will have a night of uninterrupted sleep and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.
Weighted Blankets Help Them To Focus
If your kids are facing challenges like sensory processing disorders or autism, you know that they can have a hard time going to school. A school to them poses lots of senses to feel, from the noisy hallways and classroom to bright colors in the walls. It can be overall hard for them to process all at a time. And with these challenges, it can be frustrating for them and may cause them to have meltdowns.
A wearable kids weighted blanket can help them feel less anxious and be comfortable, so they’re more able to focus. Teachers in Special Education are aware of these challenges, so they prepare weighted lap pads for kids to help them relax while sitting on their desk or the floor.
This gentle pressure that they’ll feel will help them to relieve being anxious and get them to focus on their activities and learnings. There are even designs and patterns for weighted blankets and lap pads that can get them excited to put it on.
Weighted Blankets Helps To Sooth Panic Disorders
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 3 million Americans of the population can experience panic disorders throughout their lives. It can be passed on genetically and start early on during a person’s childhood. For some people, it can be a mild case and eventually get to overcome it, but for others, it can be a considerable challenge. Kids with panic disorder can develop it by showing symptoms like feeling great fear, dizziness, shortness of breath, shaking, or even losing control.
But do take in mind that this disorder is treatable and can be managed. If it is caught early on while they’re young, they can overcome it and live without it. And the therapist suggests weighted blankets relieve them from having panic attacks. Weighted blankets can help them relax and control themselves more and prevent it from happening. Kids who sleep with weighted blankets can wake up feeling relaxed and refreshed, lessening the possibility of having a panic attack during the day.
Weighted Blankets Helps To Manage OCD
Kids with Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is a condition wherein they experience unwanted thoughts, undesired feelings, and even fear and cause them to feel anxious. They tend to exhibit compulsive behavior in which they believe will relieve them from the anxiety. Some signs that your child has OCD are when they feel the need to frequently take a shower or clean their hands because they fear germs will touch their skin. They have the urge to tap things or count repeatedly, Their things must be organized at all times with their own patterns, or they make up their own routines which they do when they experience bad things.
Similar to other psychological disorders, having OCD can mean a person has low levels of a chemical hormone called serotonin. So with weighted blankets, it serves as a deep touch pressure therapy for kids to handle their OCD. It can significantly help them to manage their OCD and be able to feel at ease even when things don’t go as they organized.
Weighted Blankets Help Manage Autism Symptoms
Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurobehavioral, developmental disorder that makes it hard for people to have regular social interactions because of lack of communication skills, impaired understanding of language, etc. Symptoms of Autism can be when kids avoid eye contact, delay in speaking, abnormal tone of voice, the unusual posture of the body or their facial expression, unable to understand social cues, doesn’t want to play with others, etc.
While there is no cure yet for autism, scientists believe that a person can be able to manage the disorder through a series of treatments and therapies. One therapy that works is touch therapy, so weighted blanket autism can help kids manage their symptoms. Deep touch pressure therapy with a weighted blanket can decrease levels of cortisol which is a stress hormone in our body, and increase levels of serotonin.
Weighted Blanket Help Kids With ADHD
ADHS stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder which is the most common diagnosis of a form of mental disorder in regards to children. They have different brain development and activity which affects their attention and have self-control. Kids with ADHD have trouble paying attention or getting to focus on a particular matter. They get distracted easily or are unable to follow directions accurately. The symptoms can vary depending on a person.
Weighted blankets help in a way to give kids a gentle pressure to help them to focus and manage their moods. It is a perfect therapy for kids with ADHD because it keeps them calm and thereby relieving them from anxiety.
Weighted Blankets Aid with Sensory Processing Disorder
A condition called Sensory Processing Disorder is when a person’s brain experiences trouble receiving and responding to incoming information. When a piece of information comes to their brain, it gets mixed up along the way. This condition makes them considerably sensitive to their surroundings like sounds and noises can be overwhelming for them. Kids who experience this disorder can face challenges emotionally because they’re not yet able to verbalize how they feel. They can be hypersensitive to sudden loud sounds like a flushing toilet, falling silverware, and other noises.
Researches support that a weighted blanket brings a calming effect to a child with this disorder. It alleviates the anxiety that they feel whenever a sound triggers it. Getting a weighted blanket for your children will help them to face their anxieties better. They don’t have to be scared of hearing sudden noises for they’ll be able to cope up with it with the help of a weighted blanket.
Weighted Blankets Help Them To Travel With Ease
Kids can experience anxiety whenever they get to travel. It is commonly called as travel anxiety, where they feel anxious or stressed because it can get them overwhelmed. They may have trouble getting into a car because of the confined spaces, or they’re scared of flying and riding on airplanes, or they’re afraid to meet a lot of people like in an airport or bus station. Or a simple reason can be is that they’re scared to get out of their comfort zone.
You can help them by talking to them before traveling and explain what they’ll see to on your destination to get them excited. Ensure your children that you’ll be with them every step of the way. And the best thing to do to relieve the anxiety is by bringing weighted blankets with them.
A weighted blanket will help them feel relaxed and at ease during the trip. They get to experience traveling to different places without getting scared or anything. And traveling with weighted blankets can eventually help them to overcome the anxiety. A weighted blanket makes sure that you collect memories with your children thru your vacations all over the world.
Weighted Blankets Help Ease Restless Leg Syndrome
If your kids always complain about their leg tingling or feel that something is crawling inside their legs, it may be restless leg syndrome. People usually feel these symptoms during the night while they're in bed causing them to feel agitated and therefore unable to sleep. It can result in a lack of sleep or may lead to insomnia. They can also experience it while traveling by land or by air when they feel the need to move their legs.
Unlike compression socks which can bring constriction or bring pain to your legs, a weighted blanket can also ease your legs while sleeping. With a weighted blanket, you can prevent the symptoms from happening to your kids and let them have a good night’s sleep.
With weighted blankets, you’ll see a positive outcome with your kids’ health condition and interaction with others. Remember that weighted blankets can also help adults like you when you face depression, anxiety, or stress from home or work. Try it together with your kids and experience better relaxation when sleeping, traveling, and bonding.