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Stuffed toys have been the beloved companions of children for over 100 years. But when most people think of stuffed animals their minds probably jump to the light and squishy teddy bears filled with fluff, that so many of us snuggled up to as children. So what are weighted toys? And what are the benefits for children that have got today’s parents talking? Well, let us explain!
Weighted toys give a whole host of health benefits, particularly if you have a restless child, thanks to their ability to provide deep touch pressure therapy (DPT). Deep pressure stimulated by the additional weight of the toy triggers a neurological response, activating your child’s parasympathetic nervous system.
This essentially helps to ease the body into “rest mode”, slowing down the heart rate, relaxing tense muscles, and prompting an array of chemical reactions in the body that bring about a sense of calm and comfort for your little one. Weighted toys are a perfect companion for both children who settle down after a reassuring cuddle or are sensitive to other people’s touch.
If your child suffers from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) you will know how frustrating it can be for both you and your child when it comes to helping them wind down. Restlessness is a typical symptom in both children and adults alike who have been diagnosed with ADHD.
Studies have shown, however, that the use of a weighted toy helped decrease the amount of time taken for ADHD sufferers to fall asleep at night.
Popping a weighted toy gently into the arms of your child at bedtime or naptime is a great way to help alleviate some of the stress typically centred around sleep time. They also improve the overall quality of your child’s sleep when they do drift off into a peaceful slumber.
When your child is holding or playing with their weighted toy, they are receiving the benefits of deep touch pressure therapy through their tactile senses.
The sensory response triggers the brain to release dopamine, helping to regulate your child’s mood. Dopamine will bring about a sense of calm while also providing feelings of motivation, reward and happiness.
Not only is dopamine great at reducing anxiety in children, but when coupled with the release of serotonin it can also increase attention span and improves overall cognitive function.
This is great if your child has trouble focusing both at home or at school. A weighted toy can help your child to remain efficiently alert while reducing the negative effects of overwhelming stimuli within your child’s environment.
Weighted toys are also incredibly beneficial at improving your child’s strength. The additional weight of the toy when both carried and played with will strengthen your child’s shoulders, arms and hands.
While there is the obvious benefit to your child’s gross motor skills when handling the toy, this build-up of strength is also great for the development of fine motor skills needed for things such as improving their writing.
Weighted toys provide a whole host of benefits for children thanks to their ability to trigger deep touch pressure stimulation. This form of therapy has been shown to ease restlessness, keep children calm, improve focus and build up body strength, enhancing the development of both fine and gross motor skills.