Each family has their own bedtime routines. Some involve bath time, some squeeze in a bedtime story, and others say a little prayer or have a little chat before bed. With the rising popularity of essential oils for adults, some families have started to include them in their nightly rituals with the kids, too. Hearing the benefits of how essential oils can add to the quality of a person's sleep may make you wonder: Should you use essential oils to put your kid to sleep?
There's no right or wrong way to put your child to sleep, but there are probably things that are more and less effective. So where do essential oils fit in? Dr. Jessica Herzog, an integrative physician at the Turnpaugh Health and Wellness Center in Pennsylvania tells Romper that diluted properly, oils can be a wonderful and effective part of a child's bedtime routine. Lavender is often people's go-to sleepy time oil, but Dr. Herzog also recommends using doTERRA's Serenity Restful Blend ($40, doTERRA), made of a myriad of ingredients including lavender flower, cedarwood, ylang ylang flower, marjoram, Roman chamomile, vetiver, vanilla bean, and more. The Baby Sleep Site also suggests Roman chamomile as a helpful ingredient to promote sleep.
What's most important, when using essentials in any form for babies, children, and adults, is to make sure that you are diluting them correctly for its appropriate application. This chart from Dr. David Hill, Founding Executive and Chief Medical Officer of doTERRA Oils is helpful in giving you a sense of the appropriate amounts to use for children and adults, whether you're taking them orally or using them topically, but you should of course follow the exact guidelines that are listed on the individual bottle. If you are planning on using them in a diffuser or humidifier, you should follow the instructions provided with the appliance.
It's up to you to decide the best way to use the oils in your bedtime routine. Dr. Herzog says that the parents should see what works for them and what your child prefers. Some kids like when mom or dad massage the oil into their backs or feet. It can be a great bonding experience and the massage is doubly relaxing as it soothes the muscles and gives them the benefits of aromatherapy at the same time. Again, it's important to dilute the oils, no matter how you use it. If you're using it topically, say for a massage oil, you can mix them with the appropriate "carrier" fluid (such as coconut oil, jojoba oil or any other not-too-greasy oil) and put the new concoction into a roller bottle ($13, Amazon) for easy application.
If you or your child don't want it to be on the child's skin, you can vaporize the oils by putting a few drops into the water in a diffuser. Dr. Herzog suggests either doing this as the child gets ready for bed, or if your child is more reluctant to use the oils, waiting until after lights out to go back into their room to turn on the diffuser. You can also put a little oil on a cotton ball near their crib — not in it.
Dr. Herzog says one of the keys to successfully using essential oils in a bedtime routine is to empower your child. Let them smell the different oils and pick the one they prefer. Have them help you put it in the roller bottle and let them make the sticker to label it. The more they feel involved in the process, the more they will enjoy it.
There are no "shoulds" in the world of bedtime routines, as each parent figures out what works for their kids, but it sure could be worthwhile to give it essential oils a try. Besides the aromatherapy benefits for both parent and child that are meant to calm and promote better sleep, it's an activity that you can both do together, and that's pretty awesome.
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