24 Aug Back to School with Aromatherapy
The change of routine, starting a new school or entering into a new school year with unfamiliar teachers and new friends can be daunting for both children and their parents. A change of schedule and environments can also be overwhelming, plus children (and sometimes parents!) can struggle with separation anxiety and need support adjusting to a new place with new people.
A lovely way to help a child with the anxiety of being apart from a loved one and way from familiar surroundings is to pop a scent that they may find comforting onto a school jumper cuff or a tissue for the child to inhale; this can remind them of home or a loved one. We love our Relaxation Essential Blend as it contains soothing Lavender and familiar Tangerine Essential Oils and is a gentle combination of scents that can promote feelings of ease and comfort. You can use our Relaxation Essential Blend to diffuse at home or our Natural Room Spray is lovely to spray in a bedroom before bed to boost relaxation and aid rest. A lovely little tip is to draw a ‘hug’ on your child’s hand or wrist (a little heart, or a cross for a kiss) next to the scent so they can have a sniff of something familiar/comforting and see the little heart and remember that they are loved! If you want to apply a scent directly to an item of clothing, we really recommend our 100% natural, Organic Lavender Floral Water which can be really calming and as it doesn’t contain oil there won’t be a residue left on the fabric. We would still suggest just spraying a little and on a dark surface such as a jumper or blazer, rather than a pristine new white school shirt!
Hydration and Nutrition
A healthy breakfast each morning can help ensure that your child has enough energy to get through the day – food with some slow-release energy like porridge with some nuts, seeds and bananas is a great choice; if you’re pressed for time try pepping some overnight oats the day before using this simple recipe.
- Use 50g of rolled or porridge oats and add 100ml of milk, mix well and leave in a container in the fridge overnight. (If making more than one serving, simply multiply the quantities). If you like a thicker version, substitute the milk for yoghurt – you can either use plain of a flavour of your choice.
- When serving, some lovely toppings include cinnamon, yoghurt, raisins, banana, nuts/seeds and berries, iron-packed dried apricots or even a spoonful of peanut or almond butter!
Plenty to drink at breakfast is imperative as well as encouraging continued hydration throughout the day. As many schools will only allow children to drink water during school, you can make this more exciting by adding some fruits in an infuser bottle, cucumber or even some mint can be refreshing too. Freezing these fruits into ice cubes are a quick handy way to do this – just keep them in the freezer for up to 12 weeks and they’re ready to pop into water bottles each morning.
A great after-school snack to stop them grazing too much before your evening meal is having a pot of trail mix handy so children can easily take a handful to keep them going – we love dried bananas and coconut, raisins, nuts and seeds, but if you fancy making it more exciting you can add popcorn, yoghurt or chocolate covered raisins, mini pretzels and even little pieces of cereals like shreddies and honey hoops. For a more savoury version we love adding wasabi peas (not for little children – too hot!), little rice crackers or mini cheesey crackers. If all else fails and they’re still hungry, start diffusing some Peppermint or Grapefruit Essential Oils are these are said to help calm hunger pangs!
Regaining Focus and Routine
One of the hardest parts of going back to school is potentially changing mindsets from summer holiday mode to term time mode. An Essential Oil back-to-school blend for mental focus can really help children in the classroom and during homework. Our Focus Essential Blend is ideal as it contains Rosemary, Basil and Peppermint to awaken and boost senses an is available as a portable Aroma-Roll too which can be popped into a school bag and used throughout the day.
Having a diffuser nearby your child’s studying environment at home is a good idea as aromatherapy can induce feelings of encouragement, focus, and well-being. Concentration can be difficult at the beginning of the school year when children are not accustomed to concentrating on learning for a whole day. Helpful essential oils to encourage this switch to ‘study mode’ include Lemon, Rosemary, Basil or Peppermint. These four oils are known to help with concentration, memory, and focus.
Probably the most important routine to re-establish is bedtime, although this is easier said than done and can take some time! Children who have had sufficient quality sleep tend to be able to concentrate better, and experience more emotional stability than those who struggle with sleep patterns. Primary school aged children need 9-12 hours and secondary children require 8-10 ideally. One of the key pieces of age-old advice is to have a really gentle pre-bed routine that doesn’t consist of using screens or anything too stimulating. We mentioned earlier about using our gently fragranced Lavender Floral Water to spray on clothes, but it can also be used as a linen spray in a bedroom or added to water in your iron to infuse the scent into bedding and can feel really restful and even a little luxurious at bedtime! For a deeper delve into bedtime routines and suggestions, why not read our previous blog on How to Achieve a Restful Night’s Sleep?
Immune System Support and Keeping Bugs at Bay!
It’s inevitable – Back to school in September brings with it the usual challenge of avoiding coughs, colds and autumn chills. While it’s important and part of life for children to be exposed to these to help nurture a strong immune system, we also need to soothe and minimise the unpleasant symptoms these ailments can produce. A great weapon in combatting grubby fingers on the go is to use a hand spray such as our Prevention Hand Spray which contains a synergy of naturally antibacterial Essential Oils including Eucalyptus, Lemon, Peppermint and Tea Tree. If we unfortunately succumb to the unavoidable coughs and colds, our Breatheasy Essential Blend is wonderfully soothing, either used in a diffuser or inhaled with our Aroma Inhaler which is perfect to pack in a school backpack for on the go congestion relief.
We spoke to one of our local secondary school teachers who gave us a few little quick wins for a smooth transition back to school:
- Start reintroducing the earlier bedtimes at least a week before!
- Parents and children should practise the route to school if you haven’t done so before -make sure to leave extra time for term time traffic. If going on a school bus for the first time, try out a few public bus journeys together so it’s not a brand-new experience on the first day, or a source of apprehension.
- ‘Wear-in’ new shoes – there’s nothing worse than blisters or sore feet as they’re a distraction and can cause unnecessary upset!
- Organise new purchases such as uniforms and backpacks well in advance so there’s no last-minute rushing or out-of-stock items.
- Be encouraging and positive when talking to your children – instil in them enthusiasm and excitement for the new school year.
- Start some new traditions that they will look forward to – choosing some new PJs and a favourite new Essential Oil for a diffuser in the child’s bedroom for peaceful bedtimes, or a new cuddly toy if they’re little.