Pressure. We experience it every day.
Pressure to meet a deadline.
Pressure to do better.
Pressure to conform, to make more money, to meet expectations.
Pressure to ........... you can pretty much insert here anything on your to-do list to complete that thought.
But not all pressure is bad. Pressure does push us to step outside of our comfort zone and in the process we discover new things and challenge ourselves to experience things we would not have experienced otherwise.
And then there is physical pressure. The actual physical sensation of weight pressing down on us. The pressure of the seatbelt against our collar bone or a heavy blanket wrapped around us in the dark night. These types of pressure bring a sense of security. Of calm.
So it would make sense to use pressure to promote focus and ease anxiety, right? Many children (especially common amongst children with a diagnosis of ADHD, ASD, SID, etc. ) seek deep physical pressure to calm themselves. Many different items are available to purchase for this exact reason. There are weighted blankets to assist with sleep issues, weighted vest and jackets to wear in the classroom to increase attention My personal favourite for youngsters are "lap friends".
On his legs is a lap lizard. It weighs about 7 pounds and is soft and shiny - very appealing to kids. I tell the kids that "Leo" the lizard is sleeping and needs a comfortable place to sleep and that helps to discourage them from playing with it. I have seen kids drape it around their necks or even on their heads while working and this seemed to help keep them centered. Or for the child that has a hard time staying seated during class sometimes this is all it takes to serve as a physical reminder to stay seated.
The down side is that these are specialty items and you guessed it - that means they cost a lot. The lap friends cost anywhere between 40$-65$. The vests, jackets and blankets cost even more so.
I have a cost effective solution that you may want to try if your child/student is having a hard time staying focussed or appears anxious during desk work. Or try this out and if it is a good tool for that child then you can invest more money into buying some of the other items.
Take 1-2 large heavy duty freezer Ziploc bags. The number of bags depends on how heavy you would like to make the weight. Preferences differ from child to child so testing out the ideal weight for each kid is the way to go. Usually anywhere between 3.5 and 7.5 pounds is recommended.
Fill bag(s) with popcorn kernels, dried beans, rice, flour....anything that you have an excess amount of in your cupboard or that is on sale in bulk.
Then place the bag on a scale to determine the right weight.
(Sorry no picture here. I don't own a scale!!)
Take a pillow case or sham that you already have. You can choose a fun patterned one or just a plain white one if you think it would be less distracting for the child.
I used a sham from my son's bedroom set.
Place the Ziploc bag(s) into the pillow case
Voilà! You have a lap weight that cost close to nothing.
If you are interested in purchasing weighted toys or clothing you can visit here. This is a Canadian company and the quality is great.
I have even been caught carrying the lizard around against my chest with the lizard's head resting on my shoulder. You know the way you carry a new tiny little baby? Yep, the pressure of 7 pounds can help with all kinds of needs........!
Hope and happiness,
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