We live in an increasingly crunchy world, especially when it comes to raising children. These days it’s all about breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, organic eating, and home births and I for one am all about creating a more natural lifestyle for my family. I can’t exactly label myself a full-fledged granola mama (thanks in-part to my complete inability to keep plants alive, ergo no growing my own food) but one thing I have really fallen in love with the use of essential oils for children. I started my own essential oil journey when I was pregnant with my second child and wanted an alternative pain reliever for headaches. A friend turned me on to peppermint essential oil and I’ve been hooked ever since. Now I’m passionate about enriching the lives of everyone in my family with the benefits of essential oils. But this is a mom blog so before I get too carried away on oils for the whole family allow me to share my four must-have essential oils and four must-have essential oil blends for children.
* The following Essential Oils and Oil Blends are specific to my favorite oil brand and personal experience. Please read disclaimer at the end of the blog for additional information on essential oil usage.
Lavender is probably one of the most popular and widely used oils out there, and for good reason. It has so many benefits and can be found in most essential oil blends, it’s definitely a must-have for your all-natural medicine cabinet. Lavender is most frequently used for its calming and relaxing qualities making it perfect for diffusing in your child’s room for a peaceful night’s sleep. We had the hardest time getting our son to sleep through the night and it wasn’t until we started diffusing lavender in his room that we all started getting a full night’s sleep. We even apply lavender to the bottoms of the kids’ feet and/or spines in high anxiety situations like long road trips or visits to the doctor. It also contains properties that are beneficial for relieving skin irritations and muscle tension making it a go-to topical option for cuts, scrapes, sunburn, insect bites, and more. I just love that I can relieve the itch of an irritating bug bite with a single drop of diluted lavender instead of using cream from a tube that contains half a dozen ingredients I can’t even begin to pronounce.
Peppermint is another must-have in your essential oil arsenal. Not only does it promote healthy respiratory function and clear breathing (perfect for cold and flu season) but also alleviates upset stomach and nausea. Do you have a child who is prone to motion sickness? Put a few drops of peppermint on their blanket or favorite stuffed animal the next time you travel and as they snuggle up to their lovey the peppermint will help calm their tummies and keep nausea at bay. Peppermint is also great for oral health for you mamas interested in making your own homemade toothpaste. But by far my favorite use for peppermint is to reduce fevers. When mixed with a carrier oil like coconut oil (you can also combine it with lavender and lemon) and rubbed on the back of the neck, feet, and behind the ears you can sooth a little one’s fever. As a side note, the high menthol content can be a little too intense for little ones’ skin so diluting for children (1 drop per 1 tbsp. carrier oil) is recommended.
Lemon might seem like a basic oil to have but the wide variety of uses and benefits make it well worth keeping around. Along with its yummy smell (which is uplifting, energizing, and mood enhancing), lemon essential oil cleanses and purifies both the air and surfaces so you can say goodbye to germs and all those harsh chemicals found in harsh household cleaners. Lemon can also be taken internally, to assist with seasonal respiratory discomfort, sooth a sore throat, and provide digestive benefits. My daughter loves her morning lemonade and sometimes asks if we can have lemon in the diffuser, especially when her baby brother is being extra fussy and we all need a little mood boost. I love the clean and bright smell of lemon so I add it to my daytime diffusers as often as possible.
Frankincense (yes, as in the Biblical gift brought to baby Jesus by the wise men) is one of the most sought after oils in the world. It has been renowned for centuries for it’s internal and external health benefits. Think about what ancient kings used to have as their medicine cabinets and you’ll get good old’ Frankincense. Then and now, Frankincense benefits cellular health, immunity, healthy inflammatory response, and even reducing the appearance of scars. I like to apply it to the bottom of my kid’s feet in the mornings to help with mood swings while building and maintaining their immune systems. When combined with all the amazing properties of lavender it’s also one of my favorites for quickly clearing up bumps and boo boos fast.
When it comes to creating your own oil blends there are limitless options out there, especially for kids. But it can get overwhelming when trying to decide what oils pair well with other oils, which ones will work together to benefit my child the most, and how much of everything to include. Thankfully many oil companies create their own all-star blends with very specific uses in mind so you can worry less about being mama mix-a-lot and more about creating that natural, healthy lifestyle for your kids. A protective blend is excellent for beating the bug before it takes hold. Daily application to your child’s feet can support and boost their immune system while protect against environmental threats. Great for children of all ages, especially those who go to preschool or daycare since they seem to always bring some sickness home to the rest of the family. Not only are the health benefits vast but also it smells divine.
Having a high-quality respiratory blend is essential for child-rearing years. With the amount of colds they pass around (hopefully less with your protective blend hard at work) there’s no telling how many stuffy and sleepless nights you have in store so filling your child’s room with a powerful mix of oils designed to maintain clear airways and healthy breathing is vital. With respiratory health oils like Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, Peppermint, and Cardamom at the helm, you can rest easy knowing your son or daughter is sleeping soundly while the oils keep their airways clear and healthy. I usually apply a homemade vapor rub (coconut oil and respiratory blend) to my children’s chest and the bottoms of their feet during chilly, dry nights or when they’ve caught a common cold. Not only does it help with their respiratory systems but also calms the senses and promotes sleep which, as we all know, is vital to beating a cold!
Ever have a few (or a few dozen) of those days when you wish you had a magic potion that could tame the tiny dragon that is your child? Time to pull out your grounding blend. I’m pretty sure they had parents of young children in mind when they made this blend seeing how the primary benefits include promoting whole-body relaxation and evoking feelings of tranquility and balance. YES PLEASE. I’m actually a little surprised the label doesn’t say, for the treatment and management of terrible twos, because that’s exactly what I use it for. My kids and I all start our day with a few drops of grounding blend on the bottoms of our feet to lessen stress throughout the day and beat anxiety before it occurs. With toddlers it can be all too easy to feel out of whack but grounding blend can help get everyone back to a sense of balance.
I call this my sure fire sleep blend. It includes lavender, marjoram, roman chamomile, and sandalwood and is my favorite to diffuse in the kids’ rooms at night. I mentioned before, my son had a hard time finding a sleep rhythm as a baby, especially after we moved. I give credit to lavender and my calming blend for helping him reach the relaxation he needed to fully embrace sleep. Not only is the aroma delightful, so diffusing it all around the house is as pleasant as it is beneficial, but applying it to the bottoms of your children’s feet is a great way to help them wind down for bed. You can also add a few drops to their pre-bed bath and start them on the road to relaxation.
Introducing essential oils to your family can seem overwhelming at first but if you do your research and are diligent with your usage the results can be life changing. For me it stemmed from the desire to treat my family’s ailments not with medications that come with lists of possible side effects that stretch a mile long but with natural, grown from the earth resources. Maybe for you it’s being tired of spending hundreds upon hundreds of dollars at the pharmacy and doctor’s office when you could spend pennies in comparison and improve your overall health with simple, daily oil use. Whatever the reason, essential oils offer so many amazing health benefits to adults and children alike, it’s silly not to at least try them out.
Are you an essential oil user? What are your favorite oils for children?
*Disclaimer: None of the Essential Oils or other products discussed here have been evaluated or approved by the FDA. The FDA has not evaluated the advice shared in this post. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. Essential oils work to help bring the body into balance, thus helping the body’s natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Please do your own research, ask questions, and be comfortable with using essential oils for yourself or your family.