The Kids

The Christmas Present Every Mom Will Want for Her Child This Year

by Katie Smith

Photograph by Twenty20

Attention, all moms who have a child that has trouble holding still, sleeping or staying focused: You may want to add a weighted blanket to their list of gifts this year. They are said to have a soothing and calming effect on many kids and adults—and I've seen it with my own child.

My youngest son has always struggled with fidgeting and staying focused. A few years ago, he started wearing his heavy winter coat all the time, even on warmer days. He never wanted to take it off. He even wanted to wear it to bed, despite my nagging him to remove it before he got into bed. I was afraid he would wake up in a pool of sweat.

It wasn't long after he started wearing it, I noticed he was more still, calm and able to focus better when he had it on. People used to make comments and ask why he was always wearing the big, bulky jacket. He'd respond with, "I just like the way it feels."

His actions let me know he really did seem to be more comfortable and content. I let him sleep in it, too. (We all have to choose our battles, right?)

And, somehow, almost magically, he appeared to be more rested in the morning and his night terrors—something he had suffered with for a long time—went away. There really was something to be said for wearing his coat all the time. It was making both our lives easier.

The heaviness mimics the feeling of being swaddled, which is comforting and can help with falling asleep.

It wasn't long after that a friend suggested I get him a weighted blanket. I'd never heard of one, but after reading about all the benefits, I knew he would love it. It would be like a winter coat for his whole body.

Weighted blankets have been proven to have many positive effects. They are heavier than a normal blanket (their weight varies depending on the person using them). The extra pressure can mimic the feeling of having someone holding or hugging you which increases serotonin, according to an article in Medical News Today.

The article goes on to explain other positive effects weighted blankets have, such as naturally releasing melatonin, which is why the weighted blanket has been known to help with sleep disorders. We all know a rested child is a happier child. The heaviness mimics the feeling of being swaddled, which is comforting and can help with falling asleep.

They are wonderful to take to long car trips, too. My son always seems more calm when he had his.

Weighted blankets were originally designed to help those with autism or anxiety, but they're great for anyone who finds them comfortable, as they can really help reduce stress and anxiety.

It's amazing to me how something with a little extra weight to it can make such a difference. If you're a parent dealing with any sort of behavioral or sleep issues, it's a natural way to comfort your child that's worth every penny.

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