Transitions are always challenging, and back to school is no exception. Summer routines have to be broken and the change in season can be taxing. Essential oils can help kids get into a good routine of restful sleep and productive studies.
Getting your ZZZZZs. Let’s first start with the basics. Routine! Routine! Routine! Try to get your kids to sleep and awake at the same time every day. Depending on their age, no later than 10pm for lights out. Discourage any use of devices like cell phones or tablets a few hours before bed as the blue light disrupts melatonin production, an important hormone for a restorative sleep. You can find blue light blocking apps or settings (e.g. “night shift” on the iPhone) on most devices. Where possible, aim for a pitch dark bedroom. The best room temperature for a good sleep is 16-20°C (62-68°F).
Essential Oils for Sleep. Essential oils diffused into the air can be a great way to assist with sleep. NOW® Peaceful Night is a delightful blend of Orange, Tangerine, Lavender, Chamomile, Ylang Ylang and Sandalwood Oil designed to provide a calming, relaxing and soothing air mist. For toddlers stick to just Lavender oil. About 8-10 drops in a diffuser is plenty. If you don’t have one you can make a massage oil. Simply add 6 drops of Lavender oil to 30ml of any carrier oil (such as NOW® Grapeseed oil or Sweet Almond Oil) and give your little one a massage! Some great trigger point areas include the back of the neck, under the feet and behind the ears. Or, make a room mist like the recipe below. You can spray the mist around the room before sleep.
Room Spritzer – with essential oils
20 drops organic grain alcohol (emulsifier to help oils and water mix)
20 drops witch hazel (emulsifier to help oils and water mix)
12 drops essential oil (Lavender or Peaceful Night blend)
60 ml distilled water
Instructions: Combine all ingredients and shake before use. Store in dark cool place.
Perking up to study. If your children are waking up groggy or having difficulties concentrating, a good diet can go a long way to offer a sustainable source of energy. This is in contrast to the rollercoaster experience that is often brought on by refined carbohydrates and sugars. Ending a morning shower with a few seconds of pure cold water is great to get kids going. Sunlight and fresh air is key: open the blinds on waking and if possible walk to school. Do not forget a daily serving of the important brain nutrient Omega 3 fatty acids (found in flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, algae and fish).
Essential oils for alertness. Essential oils can also be used to help pep up your little ones. One of my favourites is NOW® Morning Sunshine with Rosemary, Grapefruit, Orange, Peppermint and Cinnamon Bark Oil. I suggest you put it in a diffuser in the kitchen so everyone having breakfast gets the benefits of its energizing effects. If you don’t have the time to run the oils in the morning, prep them the night before or get NOW®’s portable diffuser and run it in the car on the way to school! You can also consider a room mist (see above general recipe). If you wish, try Rosemary essential oil as a stand-alone. It is known for its ability to help with focus. This may be helpful in the evening or on the weekends when homework is a struggle. If your child is a little grumpy and won’t settle down, try NOW® Cheer up Buttercup: Pure essential oil blend of Bergamot, Orange, Lime, Grapefruit and Lemon Oil.
Safety for kids. Never apply essential oils directly on the skin without diluting them with carrier oils. A 1% dilution is super safe for most ages although not all essential oils are appropriate. Try a small patch of any blend first and wait 24 hours to check for reactions. Try rotating topical essential oils to avoid sensitization. Caution when diffusing oils for long periods of time in enclosed non-ventilated areas. Always remember less is more! Many online recipes call for excessive doses of oils so check the authority first. Make sure you keep your bottles closed and out of reach. If your child has a pre-existing illness such as epilepsy or asthma consult with a trained and experienced aromatherapist. For infants, seek advice first.