You’ve seen the ads for weighted stuffed animals in your social feeds or during a stroll through Target, and you may have wondered if they actually work. A weighted stuffed animal is a plushie with extra heft, usually ranging from 1 to 5 pounds. These special plushies are designed to be used for calming and sensory input stimulation – the kind of deep touch pressure that is comforting and familiar, like the gentle bear hug you get from a loved one.
They’re often recommended by Occupational Therapists for anxiety, stress, and sleep issues. Some are even heatable, which can help with pain relief and muscle recovery. And while many kids enjoy them as a way to calm down before bed, adults who struggle with ADHD or PTSD have also reported great results from using weighted stuffed animals in daily life.
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When shopping for a weighted stuffed animal, size is important. It needs to be large enough for the user to hold and snuggle, but not so big that it becomes cumbersome or difficult to transport. It’s also helpful to choose an animal with a soft fabric that is comfortable against the skin and easy to clean.
For children, we recommend choosing a stuffed animal that weighs 10% of their body weight. This helps them to orient and regulate, and can be a good place to start. Once they’re used to the stuffed animal, you can gradually increase its weight over time. weighted stuffed animal