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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Aromatherapy and Your Child


by: Catherine Pittman (c) 2004

Look around your home…. Do you have scented candles, plug-in scents, air fresheners or potpourri in various rooms of your house?  Do you often use scented shower or bath gels? When you burned that scented candle last night you may have found it relaxing, and that regular walk through your garden or the park often calms and sooths you, providing you energy and a new outlook in life.

We often seek out scents because subconsciously it relaxes or calms us, and even relieves stress in our very busy, every day lives. Remember grandma baking gingerbread cookies?  Scents can trigger powerful and happy childhood memories for us, which in turn can lower our stress levels.  In fact, some studies have found that adults who seek out different scents on a regular basis actually show better memory function.  What you may not realize when you burn that candle, use those scented shower and bath gels or plug in that air freshener, is that you are practicing aromatherapy.

What exactly is aromatherapy?  It is the use of natural plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being. Aromatherapy can set your mood, or help alleviate or temporarily eliminate stress or other psychological factors. While it should not replace medical treatment of serious illness, it can help enhance a patient's quality of life by enhancing mood, calming fears and other psychological symptoms.  Aromatherapy can offer practical benefits for a variety of common mental and emotional symptoms and assist with such issues as stress, fatigue, anxiety, fear, and sleeplessness to name just a few.

Children are no different from adults, and are far more sensitive and receptive to smells than adults.  While parents do have to be careful with the use of scent, scent can actually have a huge impact on a baby’s ability to develop mentally.  Babies who are exposed to a wide variety of scents often show a difference in their developmental rate, behavior and mood.  Scents can help children remember words, sounds and other important aspects of daily life, and can aid their emotional well-being and obtain a good night’s sleep.  Many infants highly enjoy scents and find them calming and relaxing.

Like most parents, you often find your baby or child always seem to get very wound up just when it’s time for bed.  This of course causes tantrums and all sorts of misbehavior problems, leaving you feeling very cranky, tired and frustrated.  This is where aromatherapy can benefit both you and your child, and when you add soft music, such as lullabies, you have a winning combination!  So what scents are best to use?

There are many natural essential oils, and all offer benefits for both children and adults.  Lavender has a very undeserved reputation as an old-fashioned smell, yet lavender has a remarkable effect… it has the power to calm anxiety and lift spirits. It has actually been scientifically proven to have a calming effect on children, and can aid in your child having a good night’s rest. Most babies enjoy the smell of lavender, and enjoyment begins the process of calming your child down and facilitating sleep.

Chamomile is another scent that is an age-old herbal medicine with a light, country-meadow scent, and it too has a calming, soothing and harmonizing effect on children. It is recommended for irritability, over-sensitivity, restlessness, anxiety, sleeplessness, and can sometimes improve memory. Other scents that are good are rosemary, jasmine, peppermint, eucalyptus and bergamot to name just a few. 

No mater the scent, children welcome the use of aromatherapy and will use it throughout life to calm, sooth and relax them, and obtain better sleep, emotional well-being and balance in their every day life. Because we are realizing the benefits of aromatherapy, it is no surprise that manufacturers are now offering a wider variety of products specifically to tantalize our senses.  The right scent can sooth, calm and relax your child, and the wide variety of products makes it easy to add aromatherapy to your child’s routine. One of the cutest ways to tickle your child’s senses and add a touch of charm and d├ęcor to your child’s room is a scented teddy bear.

If you haven’t seen or sniffed a scented teddy bear, you are in for a real treat!  These adorable teddy bears have been making the craft show scene, and are a cute way to lightly scent your baby’s nursery, child’s room or any room in your home. They are every-day plush toys hand dipped in special waxes that are infused with concentrated essential oil fragrances.  Because the stuffed toy absorbs the fragrance oils so well, the aroma can last anywhere from six months to a year with proper care. While teddy bears are the most popular, you can find other delightful scented characters. They come in a wide range of sizes, scents and are known by a variety of names, such as aromatherapy bears, dipped teddy bears, and wax-dipped bears.

These adorable bears are not only beneficial because the scent can meet your baby or child’s aromatherapy needs, they are also a charming decoration for your child’s room.  They make beautiful gifts for children and adults…. They touch the child within all of us.  They offer safety from fire…. think of them as a scented candle without the flame.  You don’t have the danger of the potpourri warmer being left on or a faulty plug in air freshener.

Whether you use scented teddy bears, plug-ins, bath products or essential oils in electric warmers, aromatherapy is beneficial both to you and your child, aiding in mood and behavioral setting, soothing, calming and relaxation.  Aromatherapy can enhance your child’s mind, spirit and emotional well-being all with the power of scent!

About the Author
Catherine resides in Oregon and is the owner, songwriter and main vocalist for her children's music production company,Pitter Patter Productions. The company specializes in original award-winning music for children from newborn through kindergarten, and also produces Kindle ebooks.  Our children's music is available on CD and via download at www.pitterpatterproductions.com, and is also available for download at:  Amazon.com, and iTunes. Our first Kindle book,All About the Nursery: Designing Your Baby’s Nursery Haven is available at Amazon.com.