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How to create a weighted lap pad for your child

What is a weighted lap pad?

A weighted lap pad for kids is a sensory tool that provides deep pressure and proprioceptive input. It is designed to be placed on a child's lap, providing a comforting and calming sensation. The lap pad is filled with weighted materials, such as poly pellets or rice, which add pressure and weight to the child's lap. The added weight and pressure can help promote relaxation, focus, and a sense of security.

Weighted lap pads are often used by children with sensory processing disorders, anxiety, ADHD, or those who simply find comfort in the calming effects of deep pressure stimulation.

How to make one:

1. Gather materials: You will need fabric, such as cotton or flannel for the outer cover, and a filling material like poly pellets or rice. Make sure the fabric is durable and safe for your child. What are Polly pellets? Here is a picture:

2. Determine the size: Measure the dimensions of your child's lap to determine the size of the lap pad. Typically, lap pads are around 15-20 inches long and 10-15 inches wide.

3. Cut the fabric: Cut two equal-sized rectangular pieces of fabric according to the dimensions determined in the previous step. These will form the front and back covers of the lap pad.

4. Sew the fabric: Place the two fabric pieces with the right sides facing each other. Sew around three sides, leaving one side open for filling.

5. Turn the fabric inside out: Turn the fabric inside out so that the right side is now facing outwards. This will hide the seams.

6. Create compartments: Divide the lap pad into small compartments by sewing vertical or horizontal lines across the fabric. These compartments will hold the filling material evenly distributed throughout the lap pad.

7. Weigh and fill: Weigh the filling material using a kitchen scale. Gradually fill each compartment with the desired amount of filling, ensuring even distribution. You can experiment with different weights to find the most comfortable and calming weight for your child.

8. Seal the open end: Once all the compartments are filled, fold in the open end of the lap pad and sew it shut. Make sure the filling is tightly secured inside. *test it by squeezing the lap pad to ensure no leaks.

9. Optional: Decorate the lap pad: You can decorate the lap pad by adding colorful fabric patches, appliques, or embroidery if desired.

10. Test and adjust: Test the lap pad's weight and comfort with your child. If necessary, you can make adjustments by adding or removing filling to achieve the desired sensory effect.

Please note: It's important to note that when creating a weighted lap pad, safety should be a top priority. Always supervise your child when using a weighted lap pad.

Consult with your occupational therapist to ensure it is appropriate for their individual needs.

Thanks for reading!

Jessica Earle

Occupational Therapist

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