Is A Weighted Blanket Right for Your Child? Explore the Calming and Comforting Effects of Weighted Blankets for Kids
It’s no secret that kids and sleep are like apples and oranges. Helping your child to fall asleep and stay asleep is no easy feat and can sometimes be seriously detrimental to your family’s well being. Whether it’s general difficulty with bedtime, or syndrome specific concerns, like autism or anxiety, a poor night's sleep is going to have both immediate and long term effects on your child’s mental, emotional and physical health.
We all know the impact inadequate rest has on our child’s mood and ability to regulate their emotions, often resulting in tantrums and melt-downs. Focusing on improving your child’s sleeping patterns is essential for both your child’s well being and your own. A great place to start for difficult sleepers is by introducing a weighted blanket.
How do you know if your child is getting enough sleep?
For children, healthy, consistent sleep is not only essential for stress reduction and overall well being, but for cognitive functioning and development as well. Because young minds are so rapidly growing, changing and absorbing new information, it’s particularly important that they get adequate rest, as this is the time when their brain absorbs and organizes information from the day.
General guidelines for how much sleep is appropriate:
- Infants under 1 year: 12-16 hours
- Children 1-2 years old: 11-14 hours
- Children 3-5 years old: 10-13 hours
- Children 6-12 years old: 9-12 hours
- Teenagers 13-18 years old: 8-10 hours
However, even if they’re getting the right amount of sleep, it might not account for restlessness, difficulty falling asleep or the number of times they wake up throughout the night.
So, how can a weighted blanket help?
Weighted blankets have amazing benefits for children and are great at helping to reduce anxiety, limit fidgeting and relaxing kids before bedtime. For many children, sleeping presents unique challenges because it’s deeply related to sensory processing. Because kids are wired to absorb as much stimuli as possible, it can be especially difficult to detach from their surroundings and transition into sleep.
Here are some key ways that weighted blankets help kids fall asleep and stay asleep:
Restrict Movement: Just as babies are soothed through swaddling, children can be soothed from the pressure of a weighted blanket. They’re designed to mimic the heaviness that one might feel in their limbs when they get sleepy, thus helping to guide children into sleep.
Limit External Stimuli: For children that are easily affected by external stimuli, weighted blankets help to reduce the ability of stimuli to interrupt their concentration. Their design helps to create an environment of safety, security and comfort, allowing kids to relax enough to focus on sleep. This will also help to minimize the possibility of children waking up throughout the night or getting out of their bed.
Develop a nightly routine: Like brushing teeth or getting into pajamas can help to signify to children that it’s time for bed, weighted blankets can do the same. Incorporating weighted blankets into nighttime routines helps to reinforce healthy sleeping patterns. By associating the weighted blanket with bedtime, children will become accustomed to its presence during sleep, and learn to associate it with calmness and relaxation.
How do you choose the right weighted blanket for your child?
The two key components of a weighted blanket are weight and size. Choosing the right weighted blanket is dependent on several factors, including your child’s weight, the size of their bed and their needs.
Weight - The weight of your child’s blanket should be around 7-12% of their body weight. Thus, for children 50-100 lbs you should choose a weight between 3.5 and 12 lbs.
Size - The size of their blanket should likewise match the size of their body and their bed. Twin size blankets are a great place to start for young children with small beds, and even teenagers with twin or full size beds.
Functionality - Traditionally, using weighted blankets for children has been difficult because they weren’t washable. Thus, keeping them clean and in good condition was nearly impossible. However, a key benefit of our design is that it incorporates a removable cover, which is machine washable, and allows you to keep your children’s blanket clean and soft.
We know as parents, nothing is more difficult than sleepless nights and early mornings - Consider incorporating a weighted blanket into your child’s nighttime routine and witness the benefit adequate rest can have on your child’s mood, emotional regulation, happiness, and cognitive functioning.
Last but certainly not least, prior to purchasing a weighted blanket for your child, please be sure to first consult with your physician to get their approval and ask for their recommendation as to what weight and size would be best for your child.