Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils derived from the bark, flowers, stems, leaves, roots and/ or any other part of a plant to enhance physical and psychological well-being.
Aromatherapy has many well-known benefits for adults, as well as for children. This alternative therapy is often used in conjunction with other remedies or as a solution all on its own.
As a mother I prefer to treat any problems my children have using natural remedies before I try any other forms of medication or harsher treatment. Aromatherapy is something that I have made regular use of for my own children, for myself and many other ways in my home.
It is important to take note of the following when using aromatherapy for kids:
- never give essential oils orally to your child
- always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil
- sensitivity to essential oils in children is rare, but possible so introduce one oil at a time to check for sensitivity by adding one drop of essential oils to four drops of carrier oil and apply this to a small area of your child’s skin and monitor it for 24 hours before consideirng it safe to use
- avoid using essential oils around your child’s face, especially the eyes and nose
- if you are adding essential oils to your child’s bath then dilute it first in a water-soluble carrier such as raw unfiltered honey or vegetable glycerine
- always use pure essential oils
There has been a lot of debate about the age that you can start using essential oils on children and babies – there have been some suggestions that you can start using it on babies from 4 months old, personally I went on the safe side and only started using essential oils on my kids from two years old.
Keep in mind that essential oils are potent, so always follow the above guidelines and check with your own doctor before going ahead with essential oils with your kids.
How Do You Use Essential Oils?
You can add essential oils to your kids bath, massage it into your child’s skin (using a carrier oil), put it into a diffuser or use it in a spray.
Here are some benefits of aromatherapy for kids:
Calming Effect and Reduces Anxiety
There are many children that suffer from anxiety, including my own 6 year old daughter. The best remedy I have found to date is to give her a daily massage with essential oils. Massage in itself is a great remedy for anxiety but adding essential oils that are calming and relieve anxiety make it even more effective.
Some essential oils that have a calming effect and are good for reducing anxiety are:
- Ylang Ylang
- Mandarin Orange
Having a child that suffers from insomnia is no fun for anyone, especially your child and yourself. I suffer from insomnia and as a child I had night terrors, now it has turned a full circle and my daughter struggles with insomnia and night terrors.
Massage also helps to promote good sleep and adding in certain essential oils can make this more effective. Here are some essential oils that promote good sleep:
- Clary Sage
- Sweet orange
Increase Alertness, Focus and Concentration
When it comes to sitting still and doing what is required of them like, listening, doing homework or studying for an exam, children can find it incredibly hard to focus and concentrate.
I am just getting to understand this now, with my daughter just starting Grade 1 and doing homework for the first time. She wiggles around like their are ants in her pants and she can’t seem to look me straight in the face either. So I have been investigating essential oils that will help her to sit still and focus on the task at hand.
It may not be viable to massage your child ahead of each study or homework session, so you can consider using them in a diffuser or room spray just before your child has to sit down to the task at hand.
Here are some essential oils that will increase your child’s alertness, focus and concentration:
- Wild Orange
Protection Against Mosquitoes
There’s only one thing worse than being chowed by mosquitoes and that is having your kids being attacked by mosquitoes. Then watching your kids scratching away and not being able to stop or understand that the more you scratch the worse the itch gets!
Essential oils are brilliant at keeping mosquitoes at bay. You can put essential oils into a carrier oil and rub that on your kids if you going to be outdoors where there are mosquitoes around. You can also use a diffuser or a room spray before your children go to bed to keep the mosquitoes away.
Here are some essential oils that deter mosquitoes:
Protection Against Fleas
Fleas are also awful pests that can wreak havoc in your home and cause your kids loads of discomfort. If you have dogs or cats in the home you are more at risk of having a fleas near your kids. There are numerous ways of keeping your kids safe from pests in the home but a lot of them are not natural and come with their own set of cons. Essential oils provides a safer and natural alternative for keeping your kids safe from fleas.
Here are some essential oils that deter fleas:
- Tea Tree
Reduce Temper Tantrums
There are loads of reasons why your child may be having temper tantrums ranging from being overtired, feeling unheard and of course just being two years old or even better a threenager!
Making use of essential oils that are calming for your child and that reduce anxiety will help to keep your child balanced and relaxed. In the same way if your child suffers from insomnia and you tackle that issue your child will most likely have less temper tantrums.
However chances are your child will still be throwing tantrums on occasion. Teaching your child how to express himself and how to handle his feelings will help to reduce tantrums however while your child is in the middle of throwing a massive tantrum all those discussions may go right out the window.
It is especially hard when your kid is having a melt down of night in the middle of the shop when you are in a rush! Sound familiar?
Spend some regularly with your child doing things with essential oils that are calming and make your child happy. Maybe you bath together, or you give your child a massage, or even reading your child his favorite story while diffusing calming essential oils.
Whenever you go out take a tissue with some of the same essential oils on. Keep it in a plastic packet in your bag, close on hand. When your child flips out in public talk calming and soothingly to your child and whip out the tissue with the oils. Your child will associate the smells with happy and calm memories with you.
Use any of the essential oils for calming and reducing anxiety:
- Ylang Ylang
- Mandarin Orange
Prevent, Soothe and Heal Vaginal Thrush and Diaper Rash
Thrush is a common problem for children when they go on a course of antibiotics. It is so important for your child to also take a course of probiotics when taking any antibiotics.
If your child has vaginal thrush it can be so unpleasant. Diaper rash is also very unpleasant and very common with babies.
For both of these ailments you can add a few drops of Tea Tree oil to your child’s bath water. You can also clean the affected area with water that has a drop of Tea Tree oil in it.
Soothe Stomach Aches
Massaging your child’s stomach with certain essential oils can relieve bloating, stomach aches and pains.
Here are some essential oils that help to sooth sore tummies:
Soothe Minor Burns
Burns can be really painful and the pain can last for a long time, especially for small kids.
Here are some essential oils that soothe minor burns:
- Tea Tree
Lice Repeller and Hair Detangler
Getting lice is a common childhood ailment – chances are high that one day your child will get lice from another child at school. Lice is an awful problem to have – it will cause your child discomfort plus you will need to keep your child home from school until you have managed to get rid of the lice infestation. You will also need to wash all the bedding, clothing and hair brushes that your child and the rest of your family has come into contact with to ensure that the infestation does not spread.
Prevention is way better than cure in this case! Add a drop of Tea Tree oil to your child’s shampoo every time you wash your child’s hair to keep lice away. As an alternative you can also add a few drops of Tea Tree oil to water in a spray bottle and spray it on your child’s hair regularly.
Tea Tree oil acts as a hair detangler so if you are struggling with knots in your child’s hair this will be taken care of at the same time, which is an added bonus.
Soothe Teething Pain
When your baby is teething chances are high your baby will be niggly and uncomfortable. There are many teething products on the market but considering that the teething process can take up to about 3 years, going for natural teething remedies is always preferred.
Your baby can start teething anywhere from about 3 months old and should have all twenty teeth by about age three.
The best essential oils for teething pain are Chamomile and Lavender, this is due to the fact that they are both soothing and non-toxic. Add 1 part essential oils to 200 parts carrier oil – massage this onto your baby’s jaw line to soothe teething pain. Never put it inside your baby’s mouth!
As you can see there are plenty of benefits and incredible uses for essential oils for kids and this list doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the uses and benefits. Natural remedies are the best way to build your child’s immune system and to keep your child healthy and essential oils are a great way to go about this.
What essential oils for kids do you use? How do you use essential oils in your home?
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Also published on Medium.