Back to School Aromatherapy
While you’re stocking up on all the usual back-to-school supplies, don’t forget that essential oils can help your children (or yourself if you're in school!) have a happier and healthier year.
A few cautions: remember that not all essential oils are considered safe for children (see our list at the bottom of the page). Always keep bottles of essential oils safely stored out of reach, and check with a doctor about using essential oils if your child is under the age of six, is on any medications, or has a chronic illness.
Night Before First Day
Later summer bedtimes, longer daylight, and night-before-the-first-day jitters can leave your child staring at the ceiling instead of getting a good night’s sleep. Try an aromatherapy blend with Roman Chamomile, Lavender and Orange to help them relax and fall asleep. A super simple one would = 2 drops of each essential oil to an ounce of unscented lotion or massage oil (we recommend a 1% blend for kids ages 6-12 which equals 5-6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier). Another easy idea? Simply place a drop of any of these essential oils or the blend on a tissue tucked beneath their pillow.
Some kids seem to take everything in stride while others seem to be born worriers. If your child is anxious about meeting a new teacher and new classmates, try giving them a spritz of “magical, worry-away” lavender or ylang ylang flower water, or send them to school with a diffuser pendant or metal inhaler with a drop or two of chamomile and/or lavender essential oil.
Unfortunately, back to school also means back to germs. According to the Centers for Disease Control, elementary school children get eight to twelve colds or cases of the flu each school year, on average. The start of the school year is a good time to remind your children to wash their hands frequently (while singing Happy Birthday twice to get the timing right), cough or sneeze into their elbow or a tissue, and run the water before drinking from a water fountain (or bring their own water bottle).
Consider adding a small container of homemade hand sanitizer to your child’s backpack.
2 ounces jojoba oil or aloe vera gel
5 drops tea tree essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
Combine all in a small bottle.
It can be especially hard to settle down and concentrate on homework this time of year. For your middle or high school student, rosemary, lemon, peppermint and basil essential oils are all reputed to help with concentration, memory, and alertness. You can diffuse one of these (or our Alert blend, which contains many of them) in the room where your child is doing homework. If they're on the go, a necklace diffuser or a metal inhaler is a great portable solution. Another of our favorite blends to increase alertness and concentration is Clarity, which contains basil, bergamot, grapefruit, and lavender essential oils.
Whether you're greeting the start of the school year with a big sigh of relief, a twinge of sadness, or a little of each, adding aromatherapy to your parenting arsenal will help start the year off right.
Some Oils We Like for Kids (ages six and up)
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
- Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)
- Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
- Orange (Citrus sinensis)
- Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
- Tangerine (Citrus reticulata)
- Tea Tree ((Melaleuca alternifolia)
You can find all these oils and many more here.
This is by no means a complete list and there are many, many other oils that are considered safe to use with kids. We're just listing a few here that are our favorites. Oils to definitely avoid with children include wintergreen and sweet birch (Tisserand and Young, p. 656). Oils to use with caution include peppermint, rosemary and eucalyptus -- avoid using these with young children (under the age of 10 or so). And, don't forget: always, always, always dilute essential oils before applying to the skin!