11 Fun Weighted Lap Pads to Help Kids Sit Still

Weighted lap pads have been around for decades but their recent popularity has people asking, “Why?” and “What’s the point?” to those who are not familiar with them. These simple tools can help children sit still while they eat or play making it easier for parents because they don’t need to worry about a child wandering off during meal time. They also make sitting at the dinner table an enjoyable activity which helps prevent arguments between family members over food choices and leftovers.

The “weighted lap buddy” is an 11-inch weighted lap pad that helps kids sit still and focus. The pad has a velcro strap to keep it in place, so it won’t slip off the chair. It’s perfect for use at home or school.

Whether your kid has autism, sensory processing disorder, or no diagnosis at all, check out this great weighted lap pad guidance from an occupational therapist to aid increase attention, concentration, or soothing.  

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Don’t you like a good sensory trick or hack? You may be aware of a simple activity or equipment that may be a game changer for your kid by providing sensory input they didn’t realize they needed.

I certainly do as a mother and an occupational therapist.

Today, I’d like to tell you about the power of the weighted lap pad in the hands of certain children. Of course, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, as is the case with other sensory equipment.

So, let’s break it down: what is a weighted lap pad, why do kids use them, how do you use one with your child, and several sorts, including some quick DIY weighted lap pads!

 

What is a Weighted Lap Pad, and how does it work?

A weighted lap cushion, like many other sensory instruments and toys, isn’t exactly commonplace in most households. And, although it may seem unusual at first, it is really fairly straightforward. A weighted lap pad is a large cushion that fits over a child’s lap in various shapes and sizes.

The most common form is a rectangle, although bolsters, tubes, rounds, and irregular animal shapes will also arise. It doesn’t matter what form it is; what matters is how hefty it is and how much of your child’s lap it covers.

They may be beneficial for children who have no diagnosis but have sensory concerns, as well as children who have autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, or anxiety. 

Weighted lap pads may help children sit still in the school, at the library story time, or at the dinner table if they are successful. Basically, everywhere your youngster finds it difficult to sit still.

 

Is it Right for My Kid to Use Weighted Lap Pads? Why Do Kids Use Weighted Lap Pads?

The weight of the pad or cushion may be very relaxing and organizing (that is, it helps them concentrate better) for certain youngsters, which is why weighted lap pads can be such an effective aid. This is due to the fact that it provides proprioceptive input.  

It’s akin to the concept of a weighted blanket. See learn more, go to the complete guide to weighted blankets.

Kids who seek out or react to proprioceptive stimulation, in particular, are generally suitable candidates for using a weighted lap pad. These children are often characterized as wiggly, unable to sit still, or wild.

However, some children who desire proprioception shun tactile feelings, and there’s no avoiding the fact that weight stimulates the tactile system as well. 

A youngster who dislikes having blankets on them in bed or wearing additional garments might be a sign that your child dislikes comparable physical sensations. Even if a youngster seeks out proprioception (for example, by leaping and crashing), they may not be a suitable fit for a weighted lap pad in this scenario.

However, since each child is so different, even with all of the wonderful diverse textures and colors you may create or purchase, your child may still react favorably to one.

When I’m dealing with a child who has sensory issues, I don’t simply hand them a weighted lap pad because I think it’s nice; instead, I go through a thinking process to see whether it would be beneficial. It appears as follows:

  1. Is it difficult for the youngster to sit still for structured activities?
  2. Is it difficult for the youngster to sit still for any activity?
  3. Is it difficult for the youngster to move from one activity to the next? (i.e. time to go to the store, time to take a bath, etc.)
  4. Is it tough for the youngster to be in public or social situations?
  5. Is it difficult for the youngster to go asleep?
  6. Is the youngster anxious or has trouble relaxing?
  7. Is the youngster drawn to rough or wild play, such as leaping, climbing, or exerting deep pressure on their body in any way?

If you responded no to any of these questions, a weighted lap pad is unlikely to suit your child’s requirements; nevertheless, this isn’t a complete list, and there are certainly additional situations when it could be useful. If you replied yes to any of the questions, however, we need to go a step further:

  1. Does the youngster have tactile sensitivity and dislikes having things or textiles on them, such as bed sheets?
  2. Is the youngster afraid of big things, jumping activities, or seems sluggish or indifferent on a regular basis?

If you responded yes to any of these questions, particularly the latter, this sensory hack may not be right for your kid.

 

What Is a Weighted Lap Pad and How Do I Use It?

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This is a sensory item that should be used only when your kid is having problems sitting still or just wants to relax and quiet down. You’ll give it to them or put it on them for most sitting activities since it rests over their lap. However, several of the many varieties of weighted lap cushions you’ll see below may also be wrapped over their shoulders or neck.

If you’re using this as a technique to help your kid relax, they can do it while laying down, possibly in a sensory tent.

In general, it’s ideal to let your kid choose how long they want to “wear” the pad or pillow, although 20 minutes is a decent starting point. Because smaller children may not be able to express discomfort or excessive weight, I suggest beginning with 5-minute intervals. And, to be honest, some youngsters just require 5-7 minutes.

Always respect a child’s decision to stop using a weighted lap pad. Furthermore, the weight should not be so heavy that they are unable to remove it off their lap. (For further information, see the weight guidelines below.)

During the following activities, I often use a weighted lap pad:

  • Time to eat (for the kids that keep falling out of their chair, fidgets constantly, or is always get up out of their seat)
  • Learning exercises (puzzles, school activities that must be completed at a desk, coloring, etc.)
  • At school, daycare, or the library, have a circle time (for kids that keep getting up, rolling over, or are disruptively fidgety)
  • In the automobile (for the kid that hates car rides or is anxious about going somewhere)
  • When switching activities (for the child that throws tantrums and breaks down when it’s time to do something new, they may carry it or wrap it around their neck)
  • When getting a haircut (for the kid that is irritated by the buzzers, scissors, or flying hair)
  • When it comes to nail clipping (for the kids that screams and has a major meltdown)
  • For teeth brushing (if your child can’t bear it, place it on their lap, give it to them to hold, or put it around their neck)
  • In social situations such as birthday celebrations that include crafts and sit-down activities
  • In the shopping cart (for kids that are overwhelmed by the lights, sound, or environment of a store)
  • When playing in a sensory bin (for toddlers who don’t want to get dirty, this may be a relaxing input that allows them to explore the sensory bin’s texture),
  • When it’s time to go to bed/sleep (If your child is having trouble sleeping or falling asleep, let them hold or put it where it is most comfortable for them.) However, it is not suggested for children under the age of three to sleep with them.)
  • While resting on the sofa, in a peaceful place, or in a sensory tent (for kids that have difficulty calming down or may be described as hyperactive.)

Some weighted pads incorporate textured fabrics, vibrant colors, or sewn-on tags and other fidgets so that a youngster can feel the weighted lap pad as well. This additional sensory input is critical in making this an effective sensory hack for certain children.

Remember that your youngster may like their weighted lap pad one day but not the next. This is very natural and acceptable. Sensory requirements change from day to day, and even from hour to hour. Giving children a choice in what will aid them is beneficial to the majority of them.

Take, for example, Isaac, my son. He craves proprioceptive and tactile stimulation, and he enjoys it!

“Would you like to use your weighted lap pad or wiggly seat (another sensory hack) to help you stay in your seat while you’re eating tonight?” I might ask him before dinner, when he frequently rocks in his chair, gets up and down, and even pulls his knees up and pushes them against the table (hello proprioceptive input).

And, for certain children, I may design cards on which I may show them a picture of three or four options from which they can pick, which is very useful for children with frequent sensory requirements or those who aren’t yet speaking.

Learn how to use Sensory Diet Cards and get a free printable set that includes a picture of the weighted lap pad.

Others, on the other hand, make it a habit to use a weighted lap cushion at certain times, such as circle time or during mealtime. They will happily take it or utilize it on a regular basis. It’s crucial that you never push a kid to use one of these pads; instead, accept it if they reject. Encouragement is fine, but coercion is not. Some youngsters may first reject it but grow to love it over time — but only on their own terms.

If your youngster refuses, leave it out for a while. Make use of it. While they’re playing, place it next to them. Discuss what it is and how it may benefit them (without pressuing them too much, the point is to educate.)

Using a weighted lap pad as part of a sensory diet is what I’m suggesting here. If you’re new to sensory diets, start with What Is a Sensory Diet, or go to Sensory Diet Activities for additional ideas.

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Weighted Lap Pads of Various Types

When it comes to weighted lap cushions and pillows, there are several possibilities. However, they all fall into one of two groups. The first option is to purchase one that has already been manufactured. These are some of my favorite Amazon selections. If you take this way, you may want to enlist your child’s aid in choosing it, but at the very least, think about if they have a favorite fabric or color.

***Before utilizing a lap pad, please read the following instructions: Weighted lap cushions are recommended for children aged 3 and above who are developing normally and have no serious health issues.

To establish the right weight for the lap pad, use 5% of your child’s body weight as a guideline. If your kid weighs 60 pounds, a 3 pound lap pad would be appropriate. Consult your child’s doctor if you have any concerns or if there are any exceptions to these “rules.” ***

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1. The Foundation Budget 3 pound weighted lap pad — This is an excellent all-around lap pad that comes in a variety of weights. It can also be machine washed!

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2. Cuddly Dog Weighted Lap Pad – I like this one since it seems like your kid is just sitting on their lap with a cute cuddly animal. It also offers sensory characteristics, such as the ability to stroke the hair and play with the dog’s ears! 

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3. Heated and Scented Bolster Weighted Lap Cushion – This weighted lap pad is microwaveable, reversible for two distinct textures, and has a charming bolster form if your kid prefers warmth. It’s also cost-effective!

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4. Basketball 5lb Weighted Lap Pad — This pad is perfect for older kids and will go unnoticed while providing relaxing sensory input!

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5. Daily Schedule Weighted Lap Pad — If your kid is nonverbal or reacts to timetables, this weighted lap pad might be useful in a variety of situations.

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6. Jumbo Weighted Lap Cushion – This is a bigger weighted lap pad with a plain design. Ideal for children aged 5 and above.

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7. Wipe Clean Lap Pad — Available in three different weights, this lap pad’s best feature is that it’s wipeable! Ideal for use in the classroom or during mealtimes.

 

Weighted Lap Pads for Kids (DIY)

I like doing my own DIY projects, so if you have the time, these DIY versions could be a good match for you:

1.Weighted “Snake” – Probably the simplest way, fill an adult male’s big tube sock with dried beans, birdseed, rice, or anything you like. To seal and fasten the end, use a few rubber bands. Feel free to embellish!

2. Basic Hand Sew Washcloth Weighted Lap Cushion – Learn how to sew a simple lap pad using a needle and thread, two washcloths, and two bags of beans.

3. Sequin Fabric No-Sew Weighed Lap Pad – To seal this thing up, all you need is some duct tape, which they teach you how to do in the video!

4. Stuffed animal weighted blanket – This is fantastic and really easy if you have some flat stuffed animals like a pillow pet!

 

Find out more about how to use sensory for your child.

Sensory processing is a sophisticated and sometimes esoteric issue for parents and even specialists, whether employing sensory tricks and hacks for your kid is new or old hat. There are many fun things to choose from, but some of them are time-consuming and costly. It’s easy for parents to get overwhelmed or confused in a short period of time.

I provide a free session that leads you through 3 Expert Secrets to Calm and Focus Your Child with Specialized Sensory Activities, which I teach.

In the session, I’ll reveal the keys to making life simpler and less difficult for your kid as he or she learns to relax, concentrate, and much more.

To reserve your spot, please click here.

 

Additional Sensory Tools and Tips for Children

Did You Say Wobble Cushion? What it is & How it Works

Sensory Input: 5 Ways to Use a Scooter Board

Is Sensory Integration Therapy Right for Your Child?

13 Classroom Sensory Strategies that are Simple to Implement

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Weighted lap pads are a great tool for helping kids sit still. They can be used in classrooms, doctors offices or at home. These 11 weighted lap pads will help your child stay focused and calm. Reference: weighted lap pad for adhd.

Frequently Asked Questions

How heavy should a weighted lap pad be for a child?

A: A weighted lap pad should be at about two pounds for a five year old, one pound for an eight year-old and so on.

What do you put in a weighted lap pad?

A: A weighted lap pad is a device that sits on your knees and has weights sewn into it. It allows you to feel calories in the form of pressure, which can be helpful for losing weight or pushing yourself further during workouts. They are usually made from elastic fabric with metal weights inside them.

How do you make a weighted lap buddy?

A: To make a weighted lap buddy, you will need to take in two pieces of material that are both the same size and shape. On one piece of material, sew on some string or yarn at the top edge and then tie it off tightly so that there is no way for the loose end to come undone. Then use another piece of fabric as the weighting pad by sewing onto its bottom side with more string or yarn and tying it off securely too.

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