Besides picking mom as their best “human”, some babies will develop a strong attachment to their favorite "blankie" and will not go to sleep without it. Latching onto a “favorite thing” may appear to be a passing phase, but on the contrary, this trait remains ever-present throughout our lives.
We all appreciate a great blanket, especially in the colder months when a little extra warmth is as easy as snuggling up on the couch under your trusty blanket. Children grow up with blankets being essential to their comfort, security, and emotional wellbeing.
However, they may only realize later in life just how much of a role their many blankets played in their forming years. Yes, mom was most likely responsible for the early blanket choices.
All children go through phases, and as they grow, the size of everything changes, including the size of their bedding, from crib to their first bed to more changes through teenage years and into adulthood. There are blankets to fit every childhood phase and every season.
A thin and ultra-light summer superhero blanket may serve as a bed cover over a warm winter blanket just to keep your little one’s imagination alive. I’m sure you all know that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to kids and blankets.
So, just how do mothers choose kids’ blankets? Let’s find out.
General Considerations for your Kids Blanket
Blanket choices for kids mostly revolve around the child’s age, the climate in your country, the type of fabric, and how easy it is to care for the blanket. But as children grow older, the choices may narrow down somewhat to conform to their developing personality and as an extension of their youthful imagination.
Each person is unique in their own way, but one common trend that prevails with blanket choices is comfort. Associated with comfort is the softness and breathability of the fabric. It’s common for many parents to opt for 100% cotton blankets due to their comfort, breathability, availability, and price.
Location climate and temperature
The climate in your country will to a large degree, dictate fabric choices but linked to this is culture and traditions. For example, the Basotho people of Lesotho, southern Africa, opt for wool blankets because their mountainous kingdom experiences severe cold in the winter months and only moderate heat during summer. Wearing blankets is part of the Basotho culture, and blankets are among their most prized possessions, so the expense is seldom compromised.
Washing and general blanket care is a big consideration as well. Younger children’s blankets will have to be washed more frequently than older kids and adult blankets. Consequently, kid’s blankets should be machine washable and tumble-dryer friendly so they can be washed at short notice regardless of the weather.
Although cotton is by far the most popular overall blanket choice, other fabrics like wool are just as popular and might be the number one choice in some countries. Let’s take a look at blanket choices in relation to age.
Believe it or not, there are four different types of baby blankets, each with a unique function. They are receiving blankets, security blankets, swaddling blankets, and crib blankets. The size of each blanket type differs, and although they are all purpose-specific, most tend to end up as multi-purpose blankets.
Swaddling blankets are used to regulate your baby’s temperature. This is an extremely important function that relates to the general climate and regulated indoor heating, which is common in many colder countries.
In hot or moderate climates, babies still need swaddling blankets to regulate their temperature while they sleep, and thinner blankets normally do the trick.
In colder climates, thicker yet breathable blankets are preferred. It’s important to remember that infants are dressed for sleep, so loose bedding is really a minimal requirement.
Textiles have come a long way, and there is such a wide variety of blanket fabrics to choose from. As mentioned, 100% cotton is very popular, but there are some fabrics that are softer and more appealing, like bamboo blankets which get softer the more they are washed.
Baby blankets are generally affordable, and the variety of colors, patterns, designs, and personalized options are endless. You get hooded baby blankets, soft fabric toy characters sown onto the blanket, which serve as security blankets, and embroidery added to personalize blankets, just to mention a few variations.
Some common fabrics used for baby blankets are:
Cotton: Flannel is 100% cotton; organic cotton is a great option for baby blankets.
Minky and Fleece Are both 100% polyester. Although commonly used for baby and kid’s blankets because of their softness, polyester is not breathable and, as such, is not a good fabric choice as it can cause overheating.
Wool: An unrivaled natural fabric that is breathable and regulates temperature, among other health benefits.
It is always best to read the label on baby blankets to make sure what fabric it is and whether it is a blend of organic. This will tell you a great deal about the fabric and the process used to manufacture that fabric. Any fabric that uses dangerous chemicals in its manufacturing process or growing process should be questioned.
Cotton Is a Natural Choice for kids blankets
Cotton is often blended with other fabrics like polyester, and the blend percentage may be small, but the small blend difference may no longer qualify the blanket to be labeled organic. Organic fabrics have specific characteristics and benefits that can easily be influenced through blending.
Wool, organic cotton, and other natural organic fabrics are the better options to consider. They may be a bit more expensive, but in the long run, they offer benefits conducive to quality sleep, which promotes good health and development.
Toddlers and Older Kids Blankets.
Once your little one starts speaking, you will be able to get a good idea of his or her personality, and theme-type blankets will become the order of the day. Cartoon characters and superheroes will be a focal point.
This won’t be limited to bedding alone as clothing, sippy-cups, school bags; in fact, any product designed for children will sport the wide and often trending array of cartoon characters. Kids are not concerned with what’s best from a health perspective; all they want is what looks “cool” in relation to their small world.
Parents will have to purchase new bedding almost as much as they have to purchase new clothes just to keep up with what is trending in their child’s life. To reduce unnecessary purchases like this, it is good to have standard neutral bedding with real benefits that improve sleep quality and to rather accessories bedrooms to facilitate changing trends.
Fleece Blankets are a big hit
Fleece blankets are a big hit among older children because they are very soft and comfortable. Adults have a liking to them too but as soft and comfortable as they are, regulating temperature is not one of their strong points. However, they do help people with sensitive skin as the polyester fibers are very thin and soft, but because overheating can occur, fleece blankets may contribute to creating an environment where bacteria will thrive that will end up exacerbating sensitive skin conditions.
Blankets and other bedding items should be seriously considered before purchase. As parents, you do have the final say, even if it may not always look that way. Create a home standard and educate your children about the real value of items in the home. Talk to your children about the importance of a healthy sleep environment and emphasize the need for quality sleep.
A cotton superhero or princess duvet cover can be purchased, and instead of a duvet inner, use an organic blanket you already have in your home as the fill. In this way, the benefits of a healthy blanket are not lost or substituted with synthetic fabrics.
A Word on Children’s Weighted Blankets.
Weighted blankets are considered a viable therapy to help prevent interrupted sleep and are fast becoming a must-have item in many homes.
There are mixed reviews about weighted blankets, with some parents praising them while others think they are a wasted investment.
Either way, there appears to be a disconnect in the understanding of weighted blanket therapy and how to go about getting the right weighted blanket.
Purchasing a weighted blanket should only happen after consultation with a qualified medical practitioner, and recommendations should be followed to the letter. If your child has developed a sleep disorder, it’s wise to try and pinpoint the cause and address the problem from there. Being bullied at school can’t be fixed with a weighted blanket, even if it does provide a sense of security.
Weighted blankets are not safe for infants who have not fully developed their motor skills, nor are they safe for toddlers, older children, and even adults with respiratory conditions like asthma. Other medical and neurological conditions must also be considered, so without a thorough and complete diagnosis from a specialist, purchasing a weighted blanket is not advised.
For sleep disorders, it’s best to consult a specialist. In the U.S., there are a number of hospitals and clinics that deal with sleep disorders, like Nationwide Children’s clinic. Each country will have specialists that deal with sleep disorders, and a consultation may be all that’s needed to determine how best to help your child sleep better.
Kids' blankets are a part of who they ultimately become. Blanket designs, colors, and prints have an impact on the minds of children, even if they don’t fully understand the health benefits of their blankets. But they do know what comfort and security feel like, which is already half the battle won.
Parents want what’s best for their children, but some blankets that might look great with a superhero or princess print are not ideal for quality sleep. This is where parents should become more proactive in knowing about the benefits of specific blankets and not rely on hearsay from the neighborhood or friends. The right blanket is a sound investment in your child’s future.
Natural organic fabrics are a good starting point to discover the true benefits of a healthy sleep environment. The health and wellbeing of every person greatly depend on the quality and quantity of daily or nightly sleep.