Aromatherapy for Kids

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I was not one of those Nature Moms feeding my babies organic, homemade pureed vegetables and fruits or only had organic materials touching their precious, little bodies. Since two were born during Danny's dental school years (were we NUTS?) and the third one-year later, I was not anywhere interested in anything that took time or effort. Little did I know then how easy, effortless and cheap it is to make your own bath products for kids.

You have seen me make different lotions and potions on the show and these same products can be made for your children using essential oils that help with their moods or make them feel better. We have all purchased bath products that have lavender or chamomile to promote relaxation and even bath gel with eucalyptus in it to help with stuffy noses and congested chests. The thing that concerns me about these over-the-counter products is what chemicals are they made with and are they safe for our children? If you look at the labels, most of the products, especially bubble baths, will have warnings about not exposing your child with the product for too long because of infections that can be caused. There are some really nice products that are made by natural-prone companies, which are completely safe and I encourage you to look for these at your local natural food store like Whole Foods or Sprouts. Again, be sure to read the labels. Be forewarned they can be kind of pricey.

Or, you can make your own! This way you can be assured of what your child is being exposed to and have fun with all the different scents to promote different moods. That's the great part about aromatherapy; you can create a blend appropriate for whatever mood your striving for and it doesn't have to cost a whole lot.

One of the first things you want to consider when you're thinking about aromatherapy for your children is the strength of the oil you're going to be using. Many oils, especially those with high citrus levels or extracts from 'powerful' plants or herbs (like rosemary and thyme), may render an allergic reaction in children. Put a drop on a cotton ball and hold it a few inches from your child's nose to see how they like it. Keep in mind that children's sense of smell is very delicate and what smells fine to us may be too much for them. Less is more in this case. When adding essential oil, start off with a little and then add more if needed. You can always make it stronger but once it's too much, you end up throwing it out and starting over. You may want to put a drop of the essential oil in a little carrier oil, like jojoba, rub it on the inside of their forearm and in a little while, maybe even overnight, check and see if there was any allergic reaction, like redness or (God forbid!) a rash. If the child doesn't mind the smell of the oil or doesn't have a notable reaction to it, then you're safe to make something!

Here are a few essential oils that seem to work well for children and seem to promote good moods:

Lavender: this helps relax people and is used in many over-the-counter products you'll find in drug stores and fine stores alike. This is something you might want to use in bath products used at night to help encourage your child to fall asleep. I have used a few drops in a small spray bottle with water and sprayed the linens of the bed to give them a fresh smell and to help promote sleep.

Chamomile: this also helps promote relaxation and is excellent for babies, even newborns. There are also some healing properties in it. Both this oil and lavender are excellent for massage oils.  If your child is suffering from a little indigestion, add a couple of drops to a small amount of jojoba oil and rub it on their chest.

Eucalyptus: this is a great essential oil to use when there are stuffy noses. You can put a few drops in an ounce of jojoba oil and rub it on their chests or even put it in a humidifier filled with water and eucalyptus to make the night go by nicer.

Peppermint: this is a terrific oil to use in a shower gel for those mornings where it seems like they are just not waking up! It promotes good moods and is great in the summer in an air mist. When you smell it, you would swear you're cooler!

Lemon and grapefruit: these are good oils for the baby's bath water. Add two drops of each to a tub of warm water and mix well. Add cold water to the amount, making the water just warm enough for the baby. Bathe your child in this water since it is highly refreshing and will also serve as a good cleanser.

Always put the essential oils in a carrier such as oil, water or salts for baths. There are a few oils that are okay to expose directly on the skin but it's better to be safe than sorry. Exposure can cause an irritation that none of us need.

With adults, any oil is fine to use like almond (or any nut oil), avocado, jojoba, olive, etc. With children it is better to stick with jojoba since it doesn't usually cause any allergic reaction. Jojoba makes a very nice massage oil or as an additive to your own unscented lotions to make them luxurious.

I will supply recipes for all kinds of products and blends of oils. I even included a couple that come in handy during those cold and flu days. I hope that this helps you understand how aromatherapy can be helpful in making your child feel better and encouraging good, peaceful moods. And yours since you ARE smelling these, too! They are so easy to put together and can be made with any essential oil or a blend of several oils that appeal to you. And don't forget! You can make these as a gift for any occasion. Don't underestimate the WOW factor of a homemade present!!!

Bath Salts
My three lovely ladies and I had so much fun making this. You put equal parts of the ingredients in a big bowl, then put a little of it in smaller bowls where you add the essential oil(s). Each of my ladies had different choices and made one for morning baths and one for evening baths. I had them put the bath salts in an 8-ounce jelly jar I purchased at my local grocery store and cost me around $8 for 12! Yay! This recipe will make enough for around two of those 8-ounce jars.

¼ cup     powdered buttermilk
¼ cup     coarse sea salt
¼ cup     kosher salt
¼ cup     Epsom salt
¼ cup     baking soda
½ tsp      essential oil (of your choice)

Place first five ingredients in bowl. Mix with whisk until well combined. Add fragrance a little at a time, whisking, until reach desired level. Store in air-tight container.

Air Mist
1 4-ounce spray bottle

3 ounces water
1 ounce witch hazel or rubbing alcohol
25 drops essential oil (of your choice)

Put all ingredients in spray bottle and shake well. Label to shake before each use.

Here are a few blends that may work well in your air mist:

All Day Hug
Protecting, uplifting like wrapping a big, loving, safe bubble around your child all day.

25 drops total of
sweet orange
mandarin orange

Good for quiet time (instead of time out!) and right before a big event like an important game or recital.

25 drops total of
rose absolute

Calm Bath
Calms the heart and clears the energy field from the day's stresses and stimulations. Calms the heart for sleep and can be used anytime we need to be more centered.

25 drops total of
rose absolute

These next two recipes are terrific for newborn babies. The essential oils are safe for newborns and a wonderful excuse to bond with the new baby by giving them a massage. I give these oils along with a Baby Massage Book as a gift to new mommies.

Baby Calming Massage Oil
4 ounces jojoba oil
chamomile essential oil
rose otto essential oil, can sub. palmrosa
grapefruit essential oil
calendula essential oil

Place essential oils in jojoba oil using 20-40 drops total

Baby Colic Massage Oil
4 ounces jojoba oil
fennel essential oil
chamomile essential oil
lavender essential oil
peppermint essential oil

Place essential oils in jojoba oil using 20-40 drops total

Everyone needs a little attention during those cold and flu days and these help with the symptoms. When a friend is ill, I make these along with a big pot of chicken noodle soup. It may not make the cold or flu go away but I sure hope it helps ease the suffering.

Sore Throat Spray
1 1/2 ounces chamomile tea, brewed strongly
1 tsp honey
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
5 drops ginger essential oil
3 drops thyme essential oil
2 drops hyssop essential oil
3 drops peppermint essential oil

To brew chamomile tea: You can make the tea from a tea bag or with fresh or fresh-dried chamomile flowers. The dried can be found in most natural food stores. Steep the tea or dried flowers in 1/2 cup of boiling water for at least 15 minutes. Strain into a 2+ ounce spray bottle. Add vinegar and then essential oils. Shake well before each use. Store in refrigerator. Use several times a day, as needed.

The vinegar is a natural bacteria fighter. You may substitute rosemary or sage for any of the ingredients recommended but make sure you use ginger or thyme in the spray since they are the ones that have the most effect.

Chest and Neck Rub
1 3/4 ounces almond oil (can substitute good, quality olive oil or jojoba oil)
10 drops lavender essential oil
10  drops thyme essential oil
15 drops hyssop essential oil
15 drops peppermint essential oil
15 drops pine essential oil
25 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Pour almond oil into a 2 ounce bottle. Add essential oils. Close and shake well. Rub on neck and chest several times a day. Store in dark cool cabinet. You may also put a few drops on a tissue and inhale, pause and inhale again for relief.