Seven Everyday Ways To Use Weighted Objects for Better Moods
One of the most helpful things I learned from our occupational therapist was that there are many easy ways to integrate weighted objects into our family’s daily life. And when we did, we could significantly improve everyone’s mood.
We already knew that things like weighted blankets could help soothe and calm children when they were upset. But the real magic was that when we regularly integrated weight into our everyday activities, we could head off meltdowns before they even happened.
As a result, we experienced easier nights calming down before bed, smoother transitions in and out of the house, and hours of our family life back that we used to spend dealing with meltdowns.
The key to why it works is the concept of heavy work.
Here are seven ways you can incorporate heavy work into your everyday routine:
- When your child is hyper-stimulated and needs to burn off some excess energy, carry a weighted object up and down the stairs a few times until they are back to being regulated.
- Create a sensory-friendly Calm Down Corner. When my children were melting down from being too sensory stimulated, they wanted both comfort and space at the same time. Put a weighted stuffed animal, a cozy blanket, and some favorite fidgets in a special place for them to go when they need a moment.
- At homework time, a weighted object on your child’s lap can help with focus, soothe irritations and also serve as a fidget.
- Sibling fights are their own sensory nightmare. When siblings get cranky with each other, try getting them to vent their frustrations by seeing who can toss a weighted object the farthest (like a shotput). Using something soft like a weighted stuffed animal will make sure nothing gets damaged.
- Calming down for the night. Rest a weighted object on your child’s chest while reading stories together, to help cue her body to calm down and fall asleep. (We do not recommend leaving children under 7 unattended with weighted objects).
- Pair with another sensory activity such as a swing or rocking chair. This gives a double benefit of vestibular input along with proprioceptive input to help get the body back on track.
- When your child is nervous about going somewhere new or daunting, bring a weighted object in the car for them to hold.
We’ve tried all of these and more at our house. What works best for your family? We’d love to hear.Read next: Doctor Visits Don't Need to be Daunting