Weighted stuffed animals are skyrocketing in popularity thanks to an influx of TikTok videos praising their cute designs and effectiveness at easing anxiety. They’re similar to weighted blankets in that they are designed to be cuddled for comfort, but they are lighter and more portable. While many are available for purchase online, you can also make a weighted stuffed animal at home on a budget.
Most weighted stuffed animals are made with polyester or other synthetic fabrics that mimic cotton and other natural materials. They are typically soft and warm, which helps to promote relaxation. Some are designed to be placed in a child’s lap, like the Friendly Cuddle Weighted Lap Pad, while others, such as the heated 1i4 Group Warm Pals Weighted Teddy Bear, are designed to drape over a child’s shoulders or torso.
The primary benefit of a weighted stuffed animal is that it provides deep pressure sensory input, which is thought to help regulate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system (the “rest and digest” response). This helps reduce stress, anxiety, and hyperactivity while encouraging relaxation, sleep, and calmness.
A weighted stuffed animal can be used alone or with other calming tools, such as meditation apps, to ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression. The calming feeling is also helpful for promoting better sleep, as the deep pressure stimulation helps block out excess stimuli to help people fall asleep and stay asleep. This can be especially beneficial for kids with autism spectrum disorders or ADHD who struggle to self-soothe at bedtime. weighted stuffed animal