Why Does Your Child Hate Blankets?
Do you get frustrated when your child keeps kicking off their blanket? It can certainly be frustrating when you’re doing the bedtime routine or when you realise in the morning their blanket is in heap at the base of the crib.
Young children can dislike blankets for all sorts of reasons, but it’s usually because they find them heavy and uncomfortable. In this article let’s take a look at this in more detail. Why some children dislike blankets, why some toddlers get attached to them and how you can safely use a blanket in a crib.
Is it safe for babies to sleep with a blanket?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) babies should be ‘covered with a fitted sheet with no other bedding’. Therefore, you should avoid thick blankets and soft objects in your baby’s bassinet or crib.
When can babies have blankets in bed?
There is no official guidance on this, but once your baby reaches 12 months (ideally 18 months), you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. If you really want a blanket before this time, ensure it is a light, cotton blanket.
Why do some toddlers not like blankets?
Here are three reasons why your toddler might dislike having a blanket in their crib.
- The blanket feels heavy
This is the main cause of discomfort for toddlers and small children. If the covers feel too heavy on top of their body, they feel uncomfortable and consequently they’ll kick off the blanket. Instead, choose something lighter and not too big. You could even let them choose a blanket next time you’re in the shop.
- Uncomfortable for the lower body
Some children and even adults too, like having the blanket not covering the whole body. For some, it can be comfortable to have the feet and legs exposed while the covers keep the upper body warm. Children can move a lot when they’re sleeping and they need this freedom. A large blanket may restrict this movement and make them feel uncomfortable.
- Are they ready for a blanket?
Lastly, your child might not be ready for a blanket, especially if they’ve been sleeping in a sleep sack or wearing thick pyjamas as a baby. Give them time, and you can always try using a blanket again at a later date.
If you’re interested in other things your baby may dislike, please read this article.
Why do some children love blankets?
As you child grows you may find they actually start to love their blankets and become quite attached to them. Let’s take a look at why this happens.
Why do they get attached to them?
According to psychologists, some children believe blankets and soft toys contain some ‘unique essence or lifeforce’. This essence can be that of the original owner. In fact, previous studies have shown that 70% of young children develop a strong attachment to a toy or blanket. This seems to apply to the western world, where it is more common for children to sleep in a separate crib or bassinet from a young age.
There are also a couple of other reasons children can become attached to blankets or soft toys:
A blanket or soft toy can help children as they transition from one thing to another. For example, as a child weans from breastfeeding, a security blanket can help them feel more comfortable as they start becoming more dependent from their mother. Even for older teenagers, they might bring familiar objects with them when they leave home for college for the first time.
Part of the bedtime routine/Sleep association
Kids love routine, especially at bedtime and they can grow attached to blankets and toys as they associate them with sleep and feeling comfortable. These objects can also help the child when they wake up at night. If they’re lying next to their favourite toy or blanket, it will reassure them, and they’ll just drift off back to sleep. This saves you the headache of rushing to their aid when the screaming starts at 4am!
Why do some babies bite blankets?
Usually babies bite blankets as a way to comfort themselves when they’re going to sleep. We know it takes babies a while to self soothe and bedtime can be a stressful experience for everyone involved. Sucking or biting on objects like blankets helps to build a child’s self esteem and sense of security.
How to safely use a blanket in a crib?
If you feel your child is ready for a blanket in their crib, make sure it isn’t placed higher than chest level to reduce any chance of suffocation. Also make sure the feet of the child are at the foot of the crib.
How do you tuck one into a crib?
Firstly, ensure you have a firm mattress that fits tightly inside the crib. With the blanket, tuck it around the ends and sides of the mattress.
What should a baby sleep with?
A baby shouldn’t sleep with anything in their crib or bassinet to minimize the risk of Sudden Death Infant Syndrome (SIDS). Make sure their sleeping space is clear of toys, pillows, blankets and bumpers running along the side of the mattress. It may look nice, but these items are potential hazards which can cause your baby to suffocate. You can give them a pacifier though, as this has been shown to actually reduce the risk of SIDS
How do you teach a toddler to sleep with a blanket?
You can use a blanket with most children once they reach 12 months. However, by 18 months you should be fine to start using a blanket with your toddler. When you first start using one, just check on your toddler to see if there are any signs of struggling or discomfort with the blanket. Also, try to keep other sizable items out of the crib at this stage. With a blanket as well, your toddler may try to climb out of the crib by stacking various items together. You can also protect against your little climber by keeping the crib at the lowest setting.
Can a toddler suffocate under a blanket?
It’s extremely unlikely. Once babies reach 12 months, most can roll over and pull blankets away from their face. Also, once they become toddlers they are no longer at risk of SIDS.
What type of blanket is best for a toddler?
You want something that is lightweight, easy to wash and ideally something made from natural materials.
A lightweight blanket or duvet is important because your toddler will feel more comfortable when they move around during the night. It will also ensure they won’t overheat.
You also want to choose something that is easy to wash, because undoubtedly there will be one or two little accidents during the night after you’ve started potty training. Ensure that the blanket has the washing machine symbol.
Finally, although you can pick a synthetic blanket or duvet, try to go for something natural as this will reduce the risk of allergies or any adverse reactions to the material.
What size should a toddler blanket be?
You want to choose a blanket that has a rectangular shape and measures around 40 inches by 60 inches. This should be the right size for most cribs and toddler beds.
Are weighted blankets ok for toddlers?
You shouldn’t really use a weighted blanket for children less than 2 years old. If your child is between 2 and 3 you should be ok though. The advice is to choose a weighted blanket that is 10% of your child’s body weight plus 1 or 2 pounds. For most toddlers, this means that the blanket should weigh around 5lbs. Here are a couple of options:
Once you know it’s safe to use a weighted blanket, they do have some benefits for your toddler and their sleep. The added weight results in a deep pressure input on your child which can actually help reduce anxiety and keep them calm during the bedtime routine and throughout the night.
The best way is to check your baby’s body. If it feels warm when you touch it, then your baby is fine. Don’t judge a baby’s temperature by their hands or feet as these are often exposed more and feel cooler. A general tip is to ensure baby’s have one extra layer than yourself to feel comfortable.
Yes. In fact your baby shouldn’t really have blanket at night for the first 12 months as it can increase the risk of SIDS and suffocation. Just ensure the room is at a comfortable temperature and add something else to keep them warm.
You can use a swaddle, a sleep sack or just add an extra layer of clothing.