Part 1: Are Essential Oils Safe for Kids?
Essential oils have boomed in popularity over the past decade, and for good reason. They can help with common problems from runny noses to easing stress and more. While all ages can benefit from using essential oils, today we want to focus on aromatherapy for kids.
Although essential oils can be safe and effective ways to boost your health and wellness, safety guidelines must be followed. This is especially true when dealing with sensitive groups like children. As a leader in the aromatherapy business for over 25 years, we want to share our advice on how to use essential oils safely with kids for issues like improving focus, sleep, wellness, and relieving stress.
This is the first installment of a two part series, so stay tuned for part two where we discuss the best essential oils to help your children sleep better and stay healthy.
Before diving into the details, here are the most important safety tips for using essential oils around kids:
- External use only: Essential oils should NOT be taken internally. They are most effective when used aromatically, i.e. in a diffuser or room spray, or topically, i.e. diluted and used on the skin.
- Always dilute: It’s important to dilute your essential oils before applying them topically. This means adding a few drops of essential oil to a carrier oil or unscented lotion. For children, start with a 1% or less dilution rate. Use our dilution chart here to learn more about diluting essential oils.
- Avoid mucous membranes: Never use essential oils around sensitive areas like the mouth, nose, eyes, or ears, even if they’re diluted.
- Proper storage: Always remember to keep bottles of essential oils where children can’t get to them. Kids may be attracted to them because they smell nice, but when ingested they can cause serious internal injury.
- Quality matters: Use essential oils from a reputable source. They should be pure, natural essential oils and not synthetic or fragrance oils, preferably from a company that specializes in aromatherapy.
- Age limits: Never use essential oils on babies younger than 3 months, and avoid use on children under 3 years of age.
Now that the safety essentials are out of the way, let’s get into how to use essential oils for kids and which are best to use for reducing stress, hyperactivity, and increasing focus. Stay tuned for part two where we’ll cover how to use essential oils to help your child get better sleep and which oils can help boost their immune system.
Essential Oils for Anxiety in Children
Kids may not worry about the same things us adults do, but they do have plenty of things in their lives that can cause them stress. Upcoming tests, homework, social pressure, and juggling activities can be significant sources of anxiety for your kids. Essential oils contain molecules that, when inhaled, stimulate the limbic system of the brain - the part that regulates stress. The following essential oils have been shown to be effective to help ease stress and anxiety and are safe for use with children.
- Lavender: Best known for its calming properties, Lavender essential oil is soothing and helps promote relaxation.
- Chamomile: Roman Chamomile can help decrease irritability, nervousness, and worry.
- Orange: Uplifting and mood-boosting, Orange essential oil can help calm anxiety and improve positivity and creativity.
- Clary Sage: A tonic that helps combat dark thoughts, soothes a troubled mind, eases emotional stress, and calms frazzled nerves.
Tip: Add one (or a blend) of these anti-anxiety essential oils to a personal inhaler your child can use whenever he or she is feeling overwhelmed by worry.
Essential Oils to Help with Hyperactivity and Focus
Helping your child stay focused isn’t just a problem for the start of a new school year. Kids struggle with sitting still and concentrating all year round, and there have been several studies which show that aromatherapy may be able to help. If you’re going to use essential oils to help your child stay attentive, you’ll want to blend some that help calm and ground your child with others known to improve focus and concentration. Below we list some of our favorite essential oils to improve our children’s performance and behavior, both at school and at home.
- Vetiver: Known as the “oil of tranquility,” Vetiver is calming and emotionally balancing.
- Frankincense: Commonly used to facilitate meditation due to its grounding properties which may help clear your child’s mind so it can focus.
- Basil: Has a clarifying effect on the brain and is used to improve concentration, alertness, and memory retention.
- Lemon: This citrusy essential oil is bright and invigorating, helping energize and improve initiative and task completion.
- Cedarwood: Its soothing quality helps calm nervous tension and anxiety, lessen hyperactivity, enhance concentration, and relax the body and mind.
Tip: Make a blend using your choice of these essential oils and diffuse before and during homework sessions or whenever your child needs to focus. When diffusing around children, make sure to follow the 20 minute rule (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, and so on) and make sure there’s adequate ventilation. Add to a personal inhaler or aromatherapy jewelry to take to school to improve information recall during exams.
Learn MoreAromatherapy can be a powerful tool to help your child with common issues, but it’s important to follow the safety recommendations. Be sure to check out part two of this series to learn how to use essential oils to help your child get better sleep and to strengthen their immune system.