Children with sensory needs fall into two camps. Those who are:
- Sensory seeking because they need some form of stimulation to be able to make sense of the world around them.
- Easily overwhelmed by sensory stimulation such as loud noise and find that their minds and bodies almost shut down and that they can’t cope.
In both cases, Occupational Therapists prescribe “proprioceptive input”. In a nutshell, proprioceptive activities mean moving muscles and joints – preferably with some kind of weight bearing or resistance.
The most effective are activities that use the big muscle groups, like crawling, push-ups or running.
But these are not always appropriate in the classroom. (And have the conversation with your child’s teacher about these coping strategies ahead of time.)
Five Calming Strategies Every Child Can Use Every Day
Here are 5 ways that your child can give themselves that calming effect that will help them focus and pay attention in the classroom.
- Hand pushes on the table
Ask your child to set at a desk with their hands pointing towards each other, at right angles to the body. Spread the fingers and push down hard. It’s completely fine to lean forward a little. Repeat 10 times.
- Squeezing a stress ball
This one is easy enough. Let them keep a stress ball in their pencil case (with the teacher’s permission). When they feel they are losing concentration, just squeeze it for a count of five, then release. Repeat 10 times.
- Chair push ups
Let your child put their hands facing forward on either side of their bodies at the front edge of the chair. Press down and lift their bottom off the chair for a count of 10. Repeat 5 times.
- Drinking from a bottle with a sports cap
If your child can keep a water bottle on their desk, then make sure it’s a sports one with some kind of built-in “drinking straw”. Tell them to suck hard as they drink. (It can work better if the “straw” mechanism is only half open as this makes it harder to drink.)
- Using a weighted blanket or lap pad
Weighted blankets are filled with some type of beads that make them heavy. This weight gives what Occupational Therapists call Deep Pressure Touch. Deep Pressure Touch is a form of proprioceptive input that has been clinically proven to calm the body and mind.
Children generally use two types of weighted blankets during the school day:
- A small cot-size weighted blanket (often called a travel blanket); and
- A weighted lap pad, sometimes also called a lap blanket.
Weighted Travel Blankets: The Ultimate Comfort Blanket in a Classroom
Travel weighted blankets are smaller than bed blankets. This means that they are compact and can be easily taken with you or stored in a classroom.
Younger children can use them during their nap time.
The calming Deep Pressure Touch from the weight helps relax them so they can go to sleep quickly and easily.
It also means that they will sleep better during their nap.
Weighted Lap Pads: An Easy Way to Improve Focus in a Classroom
Weighted lap blankets or pads are the size of a tray and sit on a person’s lap or legs.
Their weight provides soothing Deep Pressure Touch, which slows breathing and the heart rate.
This, in turn, means that the child using it feels less stressed and overwhelmed and is more able to concentrate.
What Do Weighted Blankets Need to Work?
Weighted blankets should be a specific weight relative to the user’s body to provide the best soothing effect.
For travel blankets, we recommend using 10% of body weight, in line with Occupational Therapist recommendations.
For lap blankets, we recommend the following sizes and weights:
- Small 50x36cm approx & weighs 1kg suggested for 2 – 4 year olds;
- Medium 60x40cm approx & weighs 1.5kg suggested for 5 – 7 year olds;
- Large 70x44cm approx & weighs 2kg suggested for 8 – 9 year olds;
- Extra Large 70x44cm approx & weighs 3kg suggested for 9 – 16 year olds;
- Jumbo 75x54cm approx & weighs 4kg suggested for 16 year old +;
At Calming Moments, we specialise in making weighted blankets for children. We make them with love and care with the right weight your child needs. This means that they have the best calming effect for each unique body AND they are safe to use.
Some of Our Customers’ Real-Life Stories
I ordered a 2kg lap blanket for my son’s birthday in June. It is now one of the most important things we own and goes everywhere with him.
The blanket is beautifully made and I love the funky print.
Will probably invest in a larger size blanket soon. Very highly recommended.
I purchased one of your lovely travel blankets for my daughter.
She has loved it in the car and it seems to be helping make her anxiety easier to manage, which – in turn – makes it easier for me.
Your service was amazing and very fast.
Why Calming Moments?
Calming Moments’ weighted blankets can help children focus better in the classroom
We’ve found that children are more likely to use their weighted blanket at school if they love how it feels and looks.
That’s why we stock a wide range of fabrics – including tactile sensory minky, plush smooth minky, plain coloured cotton and a host of printed cottons. These prints include licensed fabrics with some favourite kids’ characters including super heroes, dinosaurs, unicorns, sharks and TV/ movie characters including Dumbo, Frozen, Paw Patrol and PJ Masks.
And Calming Moments’ proprietary Emotions weighted lap blankets can help children identify their emotions in the moment. This helps them better self-regulate. Now available in eight different diverse avatars in both cotton and smooth minky.
Mums love that:
- All our weighted blankets are machine-washable on cold, gentle cycle;
- We have Afterpay and Zippay available for instalment payments; and
- Shipping is FREE Australia-wide.
Click the product links below to browse our range of lap blankets and travel blankets that are perfect for using at school.