We’ve learned all about our weighted blankets. We’ve learned the science that supports weighted blankets, and we’ve learned how they work. Now how about some ways to use weighted blankets or lap pads?
1. Sleeping. Obviously, many people use weighted blankets to help them get to sleep faster, wake fewer times, and feel more rested. We discussed that in-depth in a previous entry.
2. Long periods of sitting. Travel, for example, or church services. Kids (and adults) can struggle with staying seated for long periods (and they SHOULD – it isn’t really normal to sit for that long) – weighted lap pads or blankets can help in these situations. We find that Tbear does better in the car with staying calm and showing appropriate behavior when we combine frequent breaks with a weighted blanket. The blanket provides him the deep sensory input that he naturally seeks – and he doesn’t have to seek it out in other, less desirable ways. Like hitting his sister.
3. Stressful or anxious times. Science has shown that deep touch pressure reduces stress and anxiety, and promotes calm. We use weighted items during hospital stays, for example, and I find that when I’m particularly stressed, I tend to pile Teddy’s weighted blanket on top of my own for even more weight.
4. Schoolwork. Whether at school or at home, a weighted lap pad can improve concentration, help reduce wiggliness, and help students stay on-task (see weighted lap pad studies mentioned here.
5. Transition periods, particularly moving from a period of high activity to one of lower activity – such as sitting down to dinner after running around outside. Letting your child chill out for a few minutes under the weighted blanket in a calm environment can often help ease that transition between high activity and lower activity.
6. Meltdowns. Some parents find that they can head off meltdowns by strategic use of weighted blankets. Weighted blankets, as previously discussed, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which has a calming effect on the body. Typically, parents need the child’s cooperation, but if they’re willing, and if the parent catches the meltdown early enough to head it off at the pass, a weighted blanket can help.
7. Heavy work. Many kids benefit from heavy work – during transition times, to get out their wiggles, to help re-focus. We often use our weighted blankets for heavy work. “Hey, Tbear, go get your heavy blanket for me!”
And you can get your very own weighted blanket or lap pad here!