Today’s GUEST POST is from Lucy Wyndam who, after battling her own anxiety challenges as a teen and young adult, has spent her adult life focused on helping others manage their own anxiety issues. She is teaching us about making homemade weighted blankets. Read below as she describes the DIY process:
We all want to stay cozy and warm in the winter months. Especially for children who may have a disability or who use a wheelchair for mobility, snuggling up with a weighted blanket may be the answer to inspiring a sense of calm. Just as music therapy can be a great way to ease the mind, using a weighted blanket can have a similarly positive effect on behavior and mood.
According to medical researchers, weighted blankets are one type of treatment that is said to manage anxiety disorders and other symptoms of disabilities in both adults and children. Using a homemade, DIY weighted cushion or blanket has a range of benefits that will alleviate feelings of unease or stress. Plus, they are inexpensive and easy to make at home!
Benefits of Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets are simply blankets that are lined with evenly distributed weight, which varies based on the person using the blanket and the material’s size. Mimicking the feeling of being held or hugged, weighted blankets provide gentle pressure that can make a person happier and warmed. The blanket essentially imitates the security of a hug, potentially releasing the hormone oxytocin and slowing the heart rate—which makes for relaxation.
Putting pressure on the body is also known to trigger a release of serotonin and melatonin. These two chemicals are linked with reducing stress and helping regulate a natural sleep cycle. This means that using weighted blankets can help children with sleeping issues be at peace and feel safer in bed. Additionally, weighted blankets may be able to reduce or manage symptoms of autism, nervous system disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
DIY Materials for Making the Blanket
Fortunately, you do not have to go out and buy a weighted blanket, as you can easily make one at home. The idea of crafting your own weighted blanket for your child can be a fun challenge—especially if you plan for it to be a weekend activity. All you need to do is gather the following materials:
· Fabric (2 yards will make a 36 x 60 blanket)
· A disappearing ink pen
· Scale that measures ounces
· Poly Pellets or weighted craft pellets
· Poly Fil (blanket stuffing)
· Sewing materials – like a sewing machine, thread, scissors
Once you have these materials, you are ready to begin.
Using a weight blanket or cushion for your child with a disability can inspire feelings of ease, comfort, and happiness—time to get sewing!