Parents get it all … soft kisses, snotty noses, curious minds, cocky attitudes. Nothing is more challenging, interesting, stressful and fatiguing than a person under the age of 12. As a caregiver, you likely already understand the benefits of using essential oils to support your own mental, emotional, and physical health. But did you also know that essential oils, when used properly, can enrich kids’ lives too?
Talk to the Doc
The first step is to consult with your pediatric physician. Your doctor can answer specific questions about using essential oils and blends around your child and can advise you about specific circumstances and concerns. When you consult with the doctor, bring a list of the ingredients in the blend you want to ask about, and be prepared to describe how you plan to use it. This will allow your doctor to give you the best information for your circumstances.
Children don’t understand the concentrated nature of essential oils – but the sweet smell may entice them to experiment if they get their sticky little hands on a bottle. This could be dangerous. Certain essential oils can be toxic if ingested, and irritating if overused on the skin. Always keep your essential oil collection well out of reach of children and babies. No oil should never be ingested by children, and remember that adults, not children, should always be in charge of oil application.
Some oils will help your child sleep better (lavender), feel better during a cold (spearmint), and be able to better concentrate (orange). But not all oils are safe to use around children. Peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary, for instance, should be avoided because they can trigger dangerously slow breathing in children. Other oils are just too potent. And some oils (cinnamon, clove) are spicy enough to irritate. Do your homework about which oils and blends will work for your children, and start slow to observe for irritation or adverse reaction.
On the Skin
Your kid may look like a mini-me, but children’s bodies are not just miniature adult bodies. Children’s skin is thinner and more sensitive. When using essential oil topically, it is important to be cautious about sensitive skin. Do a “spot check” on your child, applying a small amount of the dilution on a patch of skin before putting it all over them, and observe it for an hour or two for signs of sensitivity.
When you are ready to apply it, try rubbing the dilution on the soles of their feet to reduce the chances of an adverse reaction. Remember that young children also stick things in their mouths … observe them after you’ve applied the oil topically to make sure and avoid incidental ingestion.
Home Sweet Home
Using essential oils in a diffuser is a great way to get natural benefits for children. Our pure oils and blends can enhance feelings of relaxation, attitude, motivation, focus, and calm when you need it most. Consider turning on a diffuser in the evening as part of your bedtime routine to help kids be mentally and physically ready for a good night’s sleep. Or try enhancing their concentration after school to get homework done with no (well, less) fuss.
Remember that children’s’ eyes and mucous membranes are more sensitive to essential oils. Use fewer drops than you would typically in the diffuser. (Normally use 5 drops? Try one.) And give your child some space … don’t put the diffuser directly adjacent to their bed. Place it across the room or even in the next room. Don’t diffuse for long periods of time (like overnight). Start with five minutes at a time, 1-3 times per day. When introducing new oils, observe your child carefully for signs of sensitivity.
Essential oils are a powerful tool and can make your home a healthier and happier place to be. The more you know, the more you are empowered to make good decisions for your entire family, and keep them healthy, energetic, happy, and all-natural.