As a parent, one of the many challenges I face on a daily basis is helping my son settle down. He’s full of energy and sometimes that means jumping up and down, running circles around me in the kitchen or he gets a little needy and begs me for a big ol’ cuddle.
With the daily challenges of work, cooking, cleaning and sending my oldest to school...I only have two pairs of hands and I can’t always be there to comfort him when he needs it.
I was doing some research and found the importance of balancing cuddles and attention with teaching your child how to self-regulate in situations where they feel a sensory overload coming. That’s when I came across the concept of a Weighted Toy. What are these and why are they effective? Let’s find out.
What is a weighted toy?
A weighted toy is more than just a heavy toy! They are often referred to as sensory toys and can come in many fun shapes and sizes. They’re typically weighted stuffed animals that are heavier than what you’ll usually find at the toy store.
How do weighted toys work?
The benefits come down to the beauty of something called proprioceptive input (what?!). Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it seems! It’s an umbrella term for cues that our brain gets from our joints, muscles and connective tissues. It’s what leads our body to awareness - meaning it can provide a sense of grounding for situations where we need to relax - otherwise our bodies may kick into overdrive, making a bad situation worse.
For kids, this means when they need a hug or some comforting to calm down - the weight of a sensory toy can help satisfy these needs.
How heavy should a weighted toy be?
Sensory weighted toys can vary from 500g to 4kg depending on the size of the toy and vary depending on the child’s comfort level and needs.
Weighted toys come in many different shapes and sizes - you can even make your own! However, our favourite has to be the Calming Blanket Kevin The Koala. He’s super cute, and my son loves his fur. Made by Australian owned company, Calming Blankets (who sell amazing weighted blankets too), those guys know what kids need. Kevin’s made from top quality materials and he’s got sturdy design and stitching - so your kid can continue being a kid!
Get your very own Kevin the Koala from calmingblankets.com, the weighted product specialist! Or choose from their range of other weighted toys - they have heaps of cute designs to choose from.