Of all the bizarre new stuff that explodes into your life once you become a mum, new smells have got to be some of the most intense yet least discussed of all. I’ll never forget the smell of my newborn placed on my tummy. Or my t-shirt soaked through with breastmilk. Or my overripe bub due for a bath. They’re the sort of smells you experience once that stay with you for the rest of your life.
“Smell is a potent wizard,” noted deafblind author Helen Keller, “It transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.” Amen, sister. Though I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t be too impressed by some of the smells around my place these days, ie. dirty nappies, off milk and sticky, sweaty kids.
When a friend of mine handed me a gift the other day of an aromatic room mist featuring some essential oils, I said thanks and forgot about it… until 5:45 pm that night. Dinner was on, I had one bub in the bath and the other was screaming in the kitchen for an egg that was taking 14 seconds longer than she wanted. “Distraction! Anything!” I mentally prayed as my eyes raced around the kitchen finally alighting on said mist left on top of the fridge. I sprayed it above both our heads and something strange happened: we both stopped, dropped our shoulders and smiled. Ha!
I sprayed again and the same thing happened – with a little giggle on top.
This wasn’t a synthetic air freshener. Or an odour-masking deodorant. This was something natural and uplifting – a rosy fresh warmth – that inexplicably filled us both with calm. Without getting all hippie, I wanted to find out more. So I got in touch with Karen Pethard, mum of two and founder of Combardis Elixirs – the maker of the Calm Kids mist that I’d been given.
“This blend was created after chatting to mums at school about something to use in the car at the end of the day when kids can be irritable and moody,” she says. “They found that simply the act of using the mist created a calming effect on both the kids and mum!”
Karen says she finds her own daughter reaches for the blend when she’s losing her temper or feeling irritated – “generally by her brother!”
“I use it on the kids and their pillows before sleeping to promote a good night’s sleep,” she adds. “It also creates a really lovely bedtime ritual.” Here, she recommends her top five essential oils for kids.
Top 5 essential oils for kids
1. Lavender. If you try one essential oil, this is it. Lavender has been used for over 2,500 years and in Medieval Europe it was scattered all over stone castle floors as a natural disinfectant and deodorant (beats vacuuming, I reckon!). Calming, relaxing and balancing – both physically and emotionally – lavender promotes a relaxed body and a clear mind.
2. Roman Chamomile. If you’ve ever brewed up a cup of chamomile tea, you’re already familiar with the aroma and sense of calm that chamomile offers. Famous for its soothing and balancing properties, it helps to minimise frustration and irritability and also combats insomnia, making it a popular oil to use before bed.
3. Frankincense. A very grounding yet gentle anti-bacterial oil that helps uplifts spirits and balances the emotions. Physically, it helps build and maintain a healthy immune system and and is often used with respiratory congestion.
4. Tea Tree. This is another essential oil with multiple uses. It is a powerful antiseptic, anti-viral, and antibacterial oil which makes it a great cleaning and disinfectant natural product, the perfect alternative to harsh chemical products that can be used with cleaning surfaces and toys.
5. Bergamot. Derived from the rind of citrus fruit, Bergamot manages to be both bright and calming. It’s known for evoking a feeling of freshness, joy and energy by improving the circulation of the blood.
Note: inappropriate use of essential oils can be dangerous for children. They are absolutely not recommended for internal use. These recommendations are not provided by a physician or medically trained doctor. You know your child best, and will obviously do what is best for them in all situations.
Have you ever used essential oils for your kids?
When do you use them?
How do the kids respond?
More lovely ways to calm things down: