“It’s 11 pm and you’ve gone into your child’s room for the 5th time. You stay calm, you rub his back AGAIN, tell him to look at the stars painted on the ceiling and to just try to sleep. After nights of yelling, punishing, bribing and begging you realize in your frustration that he is not trying to defy you, he’s not just trying to make you crazy, HE JUST CAN’T FALL ASLEEP!” Is this an all too familiar scenario that Cindy Goldrich presents in 12 Tips to Help Your Child (and You!) Sleep?
In addition to Goldrich’s 12 tips, a child who has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or needs calming input during relaxing activities (reading, watching t.v., etc.) may benefit from the use of a weighted blanket.
Consider Safety First
Weighted blankets are a safe deep-pressure soothing solution for children who respond appropriately to discomfort. For example, does the child remove a jacket when they are hot?
Weighted blankets are safe for children who can independently remove the blanket or crawl out from under it. If a child meets these two primary safety conditions, they can sleep under the weighted blanket all night if they choose to.
The amount of weight in a weighted blanket depends upon the weight of the child as well as personal preferences. A good rule of thumb is typically about 15% of the person’s body weight. So for a child who weighs 65 lbs, a 10 pound blanket would be considered safe.
3 Ways to Make a Weighted Blanket
Many weighted blanket makers use a variety of options such as used clothing, sand, pebbles, dried peas or beans or pony beads to create the weight in a blanket. I like to use poly-fil beads (purchased at local hobby or fabric stores). These are fairly inexpensive, non-toxic, and machine-washable.
1) Create 10″ Rows
After choosing two desirable pieces of fabric with a pleasing texture, sew the two pieces together using 10″ rows. Stuff each row with used clothing or other soft but heavy filler. The advantage is this is the cheapest and simplest way to make a weighted blanket. The disadvantage is this type of blanket can be lumpy and bumpy.
2) Sew Pockets onto a Blanket
Use Velcro at the top of each pocket. Make beanbags filled with poly-fil beads. Place beanbags into pockets. This allows you to adjust the amount of weight in the blanket as needed.
3) My Preferred Method
– Measure your throw blanket and figure out how many beanbags you will need. Most throws are 50” x 60”. For this size, you will need to sew about 56 four-inch beanbags.
– Use the fitted sheet as scrap fabric to make the beanbags. Leave seams exposed because you will use these to sew to the flat sheet.
– Fill each beanbag with beads. The easiest way to do this is to first decide on how much weight you want in the blanket. Then divide that amount of beads into 8 fairly equal amounts (use bowls). This will be the amount of beads total in each vertical row. Then divide that amount in each bowl into 7 fairly equal amounts – since there will be 7 horizontal rows, you will end up with the right amount to fill each beanbag with. Don’t worry about being exact – it won’t matter.
– Pin the beanbags onto the non-printed side of the flat sheet. You’re basically going to want to spread them out so there are 8 rows with 7 beanbags each. I spread them out a little so the weight will be more equally distributed as indicated in the image above.
Sew three sides of the flat sheet to the fleece throw with “wrong sides” out. Turn inside out so that now the beanbags are on the inside. Sew the remaining side shut.
Congratulations!! You did it! Enjoy the calming sensation of your new weighted blanket.