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Children and Sleep: How can aromatherapy help?
Children should be able to sleep soundly and without any worries, however life is not typically so ideal. Essential oils can be very effective at reducing stress and help children sleep. Having good rest will allow them to wake up feeling stronger and be ready to face another day.
Times have definitely changed compared to even a few years ago. Technology is a part of many children’s lives nowadays and getting them off devices sometimes can be a challenge to parents. A child may have a strong desire to stay awake just so they can reach the next level of a game or keep chatting with a friend about a topic. We know that children need their sleep and breaking this type of pattern needs to happen first to help children recognize a natural state of tiredness.
There are, of course, many other reasons why children develop insomnia which includes anxiety from school, tummy aches, fears, and stress just to name a few. Apart from the regular ongoing support that parents can provide, essential oils can be used alongside to support a healthy sleep habit. The calming qualities of essential oils are timeless, and many times parents have used them with success.
The most effective ways to overcome sleeplessness in children is by having a nighttime routine. What that looks like for your family is very different for everyone else. Trying to stay away from technology so the overstimulation and temptation to keep awake will not happen can be encouraged by the parent so the child starts recognizing that it is time for rest.
To give your child a warm bath has been very popular as well in order to calm the muscles and relax the body. If your child is prone to being more stimulated by having a bath, like some of my own children were, then a massage would be a better alternative to help relax them. A warm drink, a story and some cuddle time are some other things you can think about incorporating into the routine. The aim of the routine is to calm and soothe the growing nerves and brain cells.
When looking at what type of essential oils to use as part of your child’s bedtime routine, it is important to consider the age of your child as well as the dilution percent you will be using with your child. It is not recommended that a baby under the age of 3 months be introduced to any essential oils due to their developing immune system. More caution should be taken with premature babies with avoiding oils altogether until 3 months after their due date. Certain oils should be avoided with children under the age of 10 such as peppermint and eucalyptus. Hydrosols are much safer if you need to help your child with sleep during the early stages. (Tisserand, 2014).
If you use any oils on your children, even in the bath, the oils must be diluted in order to avoid irritation. Putting a few drops of essential oils along with your choice of carrier oil in a bath will help disperse that oil and not have it attach to the body’s mucous membranes. Be cautious to have your child step out of the bath slowly in order to prevent slipping.
The recommended dilution guide is as follows:
Essential Oils For Sleep
The following are a list of oils which can be used in a massage or bath as discussed above, with the proper dilution. Please note there are many other oils safe during these stages, but the list provides calming oils that are safe within that stage.
2- 6 yrs
6 yrs +
These can be used on their own or made into a blend of your choice. Prepare the appropriate blend by first mixing the essential oils together and then use the appropriate drop amounts and dilution rate according to your child’s age.
Here is one of my own personal linen spray blends that I use with my children while traveling or whenever I need to calm the environment down before bedtime.
No Bedtime Fuss Linen Spray (3% dilution blend for children 6 + yrs)
2 oz Lavender Hydrosol
5 ml carrier oil (fractioned coconut oil or sweet almond are my favorite)
4 oz PET spray bottle
10 drops Marjoram
10 drops Roman Chamomile
4 drops Lemon
Remember to always underdose, instead of overdose, when it comes to using oils with kids. Test out the blends and see how your child reacts to them in order to insure they are not overstimulating. You also do not need to use them every day with your child and help them to instead read their own body’s signals for rest as well as fostering that connection with them during bedtime to help them wind down.
Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals 2ndEdition (Tisserand and Young, 2014)
Krystina Valadez is a Holistic Wellness Coach, Certified Aromatherapist and a mom of five from California. She currently specializes in supporting women’s health through aromatherapy. She teaches both in-person workshops and online through her private group about safe uses of essential oils and maintaining a more balanced life for women. Her blog Motherly Journey provides information for women to who want to live a more holistic lifestyle.