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Can Aromatherapy Help your Child Sleep?

Getting your children to go to sleep can seem like the impossible dream when you’re stuck in the bedtime battle doldrums. If you’ve given up at ever getting a decent night of sleep again, let me ask you to try one more thing: child-safe aromatherapy solutions.



In this post, we’ll answer the question can aromatherapy help your child sleep, and I’ll also share a few non-aromatherapy tips I used with my own now-grown kids that will help make bedtime a battle-free zone.

Start a Bedtime Routine

Before you break out the lavender oil, it helps to have a bedtime routine in place. My hubby and I started this with our kids when they were just newborns, and we stuck to it the best we could each night. Of course, the first two months with a baby are pretty chaotic, but decide what you want your routine to look like and start working toward it. 

  1. Establish a bed time. Our goal was to have the baby in bed by 8 p.m. Now when we first got home from the hospital with Amber, by the time we all settled down, it was about 10:30 p.m. However, each week it got a little better. When she was around two months old, we were putting her to bed at 8:30 p.m. 
  2. Start planning backward from your chosen time. If you want to put the kids to bed at 8 p.m., then start getting ready at 7 p.m. Toddlers and older kids can help by picking up their toys, getting out their pajamas, getting backpacks ready for school, and so on.
  3. Next comes bath if needed
  4. Read a few bed time stories. Today Amber has a 20-month old, and from the day she and Andrew brought him home from the hospital, reading books became part of their nighttime routine. 
  5. Rocking. After story time, rock the little ones for a few minutes and sing a lullaby.
  6. Prayers. Put them in bed and say prayers.
  7. Hugs and kisses and head out the door, without belaboring this time.

We did this routine every night, so our kids knew what to expect. Overall, it worked well, and for the most part we avoided big battles with the occasional exception. If you’re having lots of problems with behavior, check out this book (affiliate link) by Kevin Leman called Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. I used it with my kids and found it so helpful. It’s filled with common sense ideas and practical suggestions to use with children from babies to teens.

Aromatherapy for Sleep

Since I became a certified aromatherapist two years ago, I’ve learned how essential oils and other botanical products can help ease a child — and adults — into sleep. Let’s look at a few ideas. Try these one at a time so you can judge what works best for your child.

Take an Aromatherapy Bath

I love hydrosols! If you’re not familiar with them, hydrosols are a byproduct of the distillation process of essential oils. Sometimes they are called “flower waters” or “hydrolats.” They contain a tiny amount of the essential oil along with the water soluble, volatile components of the plant. They are still effective and much gentler than essential oils. Two perfect ones to try with little children are lavender and German chamomile. Remember, never add essential oils straight to the water. They are too strong for children’s (and adult’s) skin. Hydrosols, however, can be added directly to the water.

  • Try this suggestion: add 1 tsp of your chosen hydrosol to an infant bathtub or 2 tsp. of hydrosol added to an adult tub filled with a smaller amount of water suitable for an infant. For children up to 12 years old, add 1 tsp. of hydrosol to the bath water for every year of age up to a maximum of 8 teaspoons.

Add bath herbs.

Another suggestion is to take a good-sized handful of either dried lavender flowers, dried chamomile flowers, or a combination of both, put them in a muslin bag and drop it in the bathtub while the child is bathing,.

Sip warm milk with warming spices and hydrosol.  

Warm up a cup of milk for your child and to that add from 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of hydrosol for children over the age of three. German chamomile is a wonderful hydrosol to use in this recipe. Next add cinnamon and nutmeg into the mixture and stir. Have the child drink about an hour before bed. 

Try an Aromatherapy Massage

Most essential oils are too strong for babies up to six months of age to use every day. A good alternative is to use a body butter infused with chamomile and lavender flowers. It will still contain some of the volatile components of the plant but will be gentle enough for use on a baby. For children over two years of age, you can use an aromatherapy foot cream that contains from about 0.5% to 1% dilution rates of essential oils to cream or carrier oil. For example, add 4 drops lavender and 1 drop German or Roman chamomile to one ounce of cream. 

Make an Aromatherapy Mister

Aromatherapy misters are another option, and they are very easy to make. For school-age children, fill a one-ounce spray bottle with water or lavender hydrosol. To that add 5 drops Roman chamomile, 10 drops lavender, and five drops of mandarin essential oil. Mist in the room as they are dropping off to sleep. For babies over six months, toddlers, and pre-schoolers, fill bottle with lavender hydrosol and add about three drops of essential oil to the bottle then lightly mist in the room.

Try an Aromatherapy Oil Diffuser

A final suggestion is to diffuse essential oil in the child’s room about 20 minutes before bedtime and then shut it off as you leave the room. You may be asking the question, Are aromatherapy diffusers safe for babies? Great question. The answer is yes, when you follow these guidelines:

  • This is safe starting at the age of six months for short periods of time (for a specific reason, like sleeping).  
  • Be sure to use a child safe essential oil like lavender or German or Roman Chamomile.
  • Start with a small number of drops like 2, and adjust accordingly and as the child grows, capping the number at about 10.

Try an Aromatherapy Sleep Pillow

Aromatherapy sleep pillows are easy to make and can be tucked into an older child’s bed pillow or positioned close to the crib of a baby. Typically they are made with sleep-inducing herbs like lavender, chamomile, hops, catnip, and others. My friend and artist Cindy Schultz and I are collaborating on a project of sleep pillows, which she’ll soon be selling. Watch her Instagram feed for more information.

Let’s break the stressful bedtime battles with a sane schedule and some aromatherapy sleep aids to help lull your child to sleep. Let me know if you have any questions. I’ll also leave you with this: What is your favorite tip on getting your children to sleep (aromatherapy or otherwise)? Please share in the comment section below.

By the way, I am available for consultations if you’d like help formulating an aromatherapy or herbal product for your child or yourself.

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As always, all material provided on this website is provided for informational or educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your healthcare professional or physician. Please consult your healthcare professional regarding any physical, mental, or emotional conditions. 




thinking about thinking

Though princes sit together speaking against me, your servant will think about your statutes. Psalm 119:23

They are talking about you. They’re sitting over there laughing, shredding, ripping  you to pieces, and you know it.

Gossip cuts straight to the heart. Always painful, always injurious. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will break your heart. But we don’t have to cooperate with our enemies by twisting the knife. We have a choice.  What is the choice? Go back and read the verse.

Words or the Word

We can either focus on the words of our enemies or on the Word of God. Which would be more beneficial? Let’s think about that for a moment. What do we know about the enemy? He comes to kill, steal, and destroy. EVERYTHING he says is a big fat lie.

But God.

What does His Word say? He comes so we can have life and life abundant. In the verse above, we are called servants of God. Why should a servant (you and me) listen to the Master?

  • Because His Word is law and love and good and glorious.
  • Because the purpose of a servant is to listen for his/her Master’s voice.
  • Because we will obey who we allow to speak into our life.

Think

Consider the definition of think. In the Greek, siyach, means to speak, to sing, (I love this part) to talk to oneself. So when others are talking about you, you talk about you too, but you talk to yourself about God’s truth. When the enemy swoops in to remind you of your failure, you remind him, OUT LOUD, that God promises to use all things for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. When the Enemy or your enemies at work, school, or the office say you aren’t strong enough, good enough, or smart enough, you think about how the statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7. Do not allow yourself to focus on the lies of the enemy. Replace them with the truth of God’s Word.

Grow

Siyach also means to germinate, to grow, to put forth buds. Think for a moment and lets put this all together. Times of attack and criticism from the enemy are growing times. During those hard times we must turn our thoughts from lying word of the enemy and think on the Word of God. And in the thinking, God’s word which is sharper than a two edged sword, goes deep and cuts out the lies, and plants seeds of truth. The truth germinates, put forth buds and produces fruit. When we eat of this fruit, we are made stronger.

Take Action!

  1. Reject. Reject the lies of the Enemy.
  2. Think/speak. Think and speak the truth of God’s Word in your situation and about yourself. Do this as often as needed.
  3. Pray. Pray for God to give you wisdom and strength to overcome this hardship.
  4. Humble. Thank God for how He is using this hard time to grow you into His image.
  5. Serve. Continue to serve God and follow God’s will for your life despite the criticism of the enemy.

What are you thinking about? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to chat with you!

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Christmas To-doers List 2017, Day 3: Watch

Christmas Correct 3png

Christmas To Do-ers List

Day 3: Watch for Him

“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Luke 2:8

Day in. Day out.

Looking. Watching. Waiting. Shepherds in the fields faithfully caring for their sheep. Diligence is their watchword.  Always searching for the finest pasture, the best shelter, and the freshest water.  Looking, watching, and waiting, day in and day out. Night after night. Until one night. O Holy Night!

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

Faithfulness in their daily work allowed the shepherds to see Jesus. Had they not been diligent in their mundane tasks, they would have missed the angel’s message,  and they would have missed Jesus. Shepherds watching for the Good Shepherd.

Look. Watch. Wait.

The same thing we do for Jesus.

Look for Jesus this Christmas season. Watch for glimpses of Him as you go through  your ordinary days. Wait for Him to act. Chores, tasks, errands, and suddenly He’s there—teaching, comforting, directing, healing, and loving.

  Watch for Him in your everyday chores and holiday tasks.

Look. Watch. Wait.Watch Day 3jpg

The same thing Jesus does for us.

Jesus constantly looks out for our best interests and watches over our every concern. He waits to draw us into closer relationship, greater trust, and deeper faith. Stolen moments in the crush of the day. Precious minutes at His feet in the rush of the season. Day after day, silent night after silent night.

He looks, watches, and waits for you.

Action Points:

  1. Look for Jesus today. Notice the blessings He sends your way and then look for ways to be a blessing to others.
  2. Watch for Jesus today. What is He trying to say to you? What is He telling you? What does He want you to do differently this Christmas season?
  3. Wait for Him. Jesus is calling you to rest in heavenly peace with Him. Tarry with Him for a few moments. Get your Bible, turn to Luke 2 and listen to the beautiful music below. Wait for Him to restore your soul.

How will you watch for Jesus today? How will you make time to wait for Him? Please leave a comment in the Comment section below on how you plan to watch for Jesus, or how you saw Him today.

Did you miss a day? Don’t fret, just click on a link below.

Day 1: Believe Him

Day 2: Make Room

Watch for Him.

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Christmas To Do-ers List, 2017: Day 2, Make Room for Him

Christmas To Do-ers List

Day 2: Make Room for Him

She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

No Room

Can you imagine being Mary perched on a donkey, already in the pangs of labor, as they entered the city of Bethlehem? I am sure she was hoping for a quiet place, a haven to give birth to her son. But that’s not what greeted her. A city teeming with people and noise, with nary a haven in sight.

Or perhaps you identify more with Joseph, with the full responsibility of Mary and the imminent birth on his shoulders. Every inn was packed; every door he desperately knocked on slammed in his face. No room.

Make RoomMake Room Day 2 jpeg

As we consider Mary and Joseph’s plight that night, one of the most important lessons we can take from this story is to make room for the Savior in our lives.  In the whole city, one innkeeper took pity on their plight and offered what he had for their use.

What about us? Do we make room for the Word Made Flesh in our lives? John 8:37 tells the sad story of those who have no room for the word. But when we make room for Jesus, when we give Him what we have, He changes everything. The more room we give Him in our lives, the more changes He makes. And the more He uses what we give Him.

While it’s a good start, Jesus is asking for more than just Sunday morning. We need to make room in our schedules, in our homes, in our leisure time, in our work, in our hearts.  

Rather than being a once-a-week commitment, Jesus wants to be our everyday priority.

When we pray about our schedules, Jesus can multiply our time, help us to make the right connections and opportunities. When we invite Him into our families, He can soften and quicken the hearts of ourselves and our loved ones to bring about necessary change. When we pray about our leisure time activities and hobbies, He can spark creativity and opportunities we may not  have had otherwise. When we give Him our work, He can help us weather difficulties and inspire us with new ideas. When we step out in ministry, he can bless our five loaves and two fish into much more than we imagine. Making room for Him is the key to change in our own lives.

Action Points:

Determine how you will make room for Jesus this Advent.

  1. What does your devotion time look like? Are you meeting with Jesus in the morning or evening? If not, when can you make time for Him?
  2. Is there an area of your life that you have put up the “no vacancy” sign at, that you haven’t yet yielded control of to Jesus?
  3. Can you make room for an extended time of prayer once during Advent? Perhaps as a mini-retreat in your own home or somewhere else?
  4. Is there a step of ministry God is asking you to take for Him?

Please share any ideas of how you will make room for Jesus this season in the comment section below and enjoy the music selection for today: Do You Have Room?, by Shawna Edwards.

Let’s be To Do-ers of His word this Christmas season by making room!

Previous Posts:

Day 1: Believe Him

 

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Christmas To-Do List, 2017: Day 1, Believe

Christmas To Do-ers List

Day 1: Believe Him

“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45

Blessed is she who believes.

It was an ordinary day for Mary, one like any other. Chores to accomplish, tasks to finish, water to fetch, meals to cook and a wedding to plan. But, God interrupted the ordinary and asked Mary to do something extraordinary … believe Him. We might scoff and think how hard is that? Anyone can believe God.

But do we?

Do we believe God for anything beyond salvation?

Believe Him.

When Mary chose to believe God, it changed everything, her past, her present and certainly her future. Mary’s choice to believe God was a true test of faith. In order to accept God’s plan for her life, Mary needed two miracles. One miracle to start a life (she knew not a man), and another miracle to save a life — hers. Despite the seemingly impossible circumstances, Mary believed Him.

To believe or not to believe.Day 1 Believe jpg

God, in His infinite wisdom, does not force us to act. The choice is ours—we can believe or not. But for some reason, God will not implement certain actions unless we choose to believe Him.

Believe like Mary.

Live Mary, believing God changes everything about our past, present and future.  What do you need to believe God for today?  Your marriage … your health …  a job … a child … forgiveness? Because of the cradle and the cross, you can believe.

What if you live today as is if you believe what God says? What if you live today as one truly forgiven? What if you dare to live as a person who is called by God?  What would it look like to believe Him today? What actions would you take? What words would you say? What decisions would you make?

Action Points:

  1. What has God said that you need to believe? Choose something from the list below.

    1. You are beautiful.
    2. You are chosen.
    3. You are gifted.
    4. You are loved.
    5. You are forgiven.
    6. You have purpose.
    7.  ____________ (other).

Today, choose to believe God over the wisdom of the world,  the advice of friends, the counsel of your own heart and the lies of the enemy.

What are you believing God for today? Please record your goal in the Comment section below.

Believe Him.

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For your listening enjoyment this Advent season, please click on the link below.

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5 Ways to Use Aromatherapy for School

I saw the familiar yellow school bus in our neighborhood this morning, definitely heralding the end of summer—at least for the academic calendar. Back to school is always an exciting time for kids and parents alike, albeit for different reasons! Whether your children are just starting their school career, are somewhere in the middle, or are heading toward graduation, aromatherapy can support a wellness lifestyle throughout their entire year. Let’s look at some possibilities of how to do that.



Aromatherapy for School

Safety First

In discussing children and aromatherapy, I first want to set a few important guidelines.

  1. Always keep your essential oils out of the reach of children. Cute tiny bottles may entice a child to take a drink, but most essential oils are poisonous to consume undiluted.
  2. Do not use essential oils on premature babies. They have high skin permeability, so it is not recommended.
  3. Remember, essential oils are highly concentrated, at 75%-100% stronger than the herb of the same name. So the rule for children (and adults) is to dilute, dilute, dilute! We’ll discuss proper amounts in this post.
  4. Do NOT let children ingest essential oils unless they are under the supervision and advice of a doctor or certified clinical aromatherapist with years of experience in this practice.
  5. For children under 5 years of age, use aromatherapy products for acute conditions such as illnesses, skin conditions, injuries, infections, and emotional upsets.
  6. Do not use dermal (skin) applications of aromatherapy products everyday on children 5 and under. There is the possibility of creating sensitization and increased likelihood of developing allergies. Olfaction and inhalation is the preferred method of application unless you are treating an acute condition.
  7. Do not place undiluted essential oils or highly concentrated blends of oils around the nose or mouth of children under age 2. This could cause respiratory distress.
  8. Keep in mind that hydrosols are gentler to use with children than essential oils.
  9. Avoid the use of menthol or 1,8 cineole-rich essential oils until the age of 2, such as cardamom, Niaouli, eucalyptus, and peppermint (avoid until the age of 30 months).

Now that we understand a few basic safety rules, let’s consider some ways you can choose to use aromatherapy for wellness throughout the school year. We’ll focus on the oils that have a safe record with children when used in the proper dilutions. As a side note, if you’re sending any aromatherapy products to school with your children, it’s always a good idea to inform the teacher and/or school nurse.

1.Handling Stress

School is often a mix of good and bad stress. While I have many happy memories of my school days, I also remember the times when projects, tests, and social stresses became overwhelming. My first weapon for combating stress is prayer. Praying for your child each day and targeting your prayers to the specific demands of that day is important. Make it a daily habit. Whether your child is struggling with the newness of classes, teachers, and students or looming deadlines of tests and projects, prayer can help tame the stress monster in your child’s life.

Next, I like to calm the physical reaction of stress with aromatherapy. It is proven that the scent molecules of aromatherapy when inhaled travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and have an effect on the amygdala, which controls our emotions. When it comes to treating stress or depression, one of the quickest routes is through inhalation. Using a diffusor at home or making or purchasing a pocket inhaler that your child can take to school are two possible ways to handle this. Here’s a favorite simple synergy to help combat stress:

Calming SynergyIMG_3244
20 drops lemon
10 drops lavender

Combine this synergy in a glass 1-dram bottle to be used in a diffusor or an inhaler. To use a diffusor, you could choose to add 7 to 10 drops of the synergy to your water-based diffusor or follow the directions for a nebulizing diffusor. To make a personal inhaler, you may want to add 10 drops to the inhaler for a child who is in the 3-4 year age range and 20-30 drops to the inhaler tube for older children (see directions under Immune System below).

If you like scientific information, you may want to check out this study from Iran on diabetic children and the effect of orange essential oil on their stress levels.

2. Focus and Concentration

After-school time can get crazy in most families. Snacks, sports activities, play time, and youth group can all be vying for time and attention with homework. When your child does sit down to work on projects and homework, she may need some extra help to focus and concentrate. Two good oils to try are rosemary and sweet orange. Historically, Rosemary stimulates and enhances the memory while sweet orange uplifts and relieves anxiety. Try diffusing this synergy, using in an inhaler, or making a room spritzer and spray in the air as your child is studying. I’ve made this in a 2 percent dilution, which is just right for pre-schoolers through young teenagers. You can up the oil count a bit for older teens or try a blend of 15 drops Rosemary and 10 peppermint for a stimulating, refreshing aroma. Adjust the amount to your preference.

Kids' Study Spritzer 750Study Spritzer
1-oz spray bottle
Distilled water
16 drops sweet orange essential oil
4 drops Rosemary essential oil

If you are using a plastic bottle, make the synergy first in a small glass vial or shot glass. Fill the spray bottle to the “shoulder line” with water (the shoulder line is when the bottle is considered full, not the neck line) and then add the synergy. Shake well before each use. If you like a milder aroma, use a 2-oz spray bottle at the same dilution rate. If you are using a glass spray bottle, you can mix the synergy directly in it and then add the water. Shake well and spray.

3. Immune System

Once kids are back in school, it’s not too long before the first bug hits and absentee calls start flooding the office. 2020 update: with Covid-19 a huge concern, doing what you can to boost the immune system should be the goal. That includes everything from focusing on healthy foods to teaching proper hand washing to using a preventive inhaler.

The idea is to try to strengthen our children’s immune systems so even if they do get sick with any type of illness, it will hopefully be a mild case. This recipe comes courtesy of Jade Shutes of The School for Aromatic Studies.

Preventative Inhaler
15 drops Rosalina
10 drops Frankincense
5 drops Saro
Empty inhaler

Mix the synergy and soak the inhaler pad until it has absorbed the mix. Assemble the inhaler and you’re good to go. I’ve found that most of my inhalers last for months, and they are easy to refresh by adding a few more drops to the pad. You can also purchase replacement pads as well. Your child can take the inhaler to school and use throughout the day. You could also make this synergy and store it in a one-dram bottle, adding 7-10 drops to your diffusor.

4. PMS Help

It’s difficult when girls have to miss out on school or life because of painful menstrual cramps. Most IMG_2345women have memories of missing—or being miserable through—some major event because of PMS woes. The combination of these three oils in a 3 percent dilution of a carrier oil may be enough to help relieve the suffering. Drinking a cup of herbal tea such as chamomile may help too!

Massage Oil for Cramps
1 ounce organic jojoba or sesame or other carrier oil
8 drops Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
6 drops Clary sage (Salvia sclarea)
5 drops Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)

Combine the synergy first in a glass vial. Fill the bottle halfway with oil and add the synergy. Swirl around or shake gently and add the rest of the oil. Shake again. Massage onto abdominal area.

5. Sleeping

Sometimes children just can’t seem to wind down at night, especially if they’ve been busy with lessons and studies right up until bedtime. There is definitely something to be said for allowing children time to just be kids during the day by building in time for play and de-stressing. But for those nights when sleep just won’t come, essential oils may help. German chamomile (also called Blue chamomile) is one of my favorites. It’s beautiful blue color is soothing and the aroma is milder than Roman chamomile; just to warn you, though, this is an expensive oil. If you don’t have any of the German variety, you could substitute lavender with some sweet marjoram or a drop of Roman chamomile.

Sleepy Massage Oil
1 ounce of carrier oil of your choice
12 drops of German chamomile (1.5% dilution)

Mix the oils together and store in a bottle. Massage onto the bottom of your child’s feet or on the back. The massage is incredibly relaxing, too, and may help calm and settle your child.

These ideas are just the beginning of the way aromatherapy can support a wellness lifestyle. Seek credible advice from a certified aromatherapist or expert in the field. Research as you go and don’t fall for dangerous fads that encourage unwise practices. Safety is your top priority as you explore the wonderful world of holistic health and healing that is aromatherapy. Here’s to an aromatic, successful school year!

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