Keeping Your Cool in School
School has been back in session for six weeks now; however, many parents are not enthusiastic about sending children back into a COVID-designed classroom where students need to wear masks and maintain distance from their friends. No longer are desks placed to encourage sharing ideas and working together; they are now in rows at measured distances to keep them apart.
With COVID-19 cases on the rise in some parts of the country, parents are reconsidering homeschooling until school boards and the government can encourage a calm and engaging learning environment. What can aromatherapists do to help students and parents achieve a mental health state that is productive to learning?
First, we need to look at the stresses of the student. During past lockdowns, children were present to increased family violence, lack of at least one nutritious meal a day due to closures of school breakfast clubs and lunches, the stress of parents losing income, and the COVID-19 virus effect on members of their families.
Salvatore Battaglia wrote in his new book The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy Vol III - Psyche & Subtle, “A psychologist working with Headspace, a mental health service for young people, reported seeing an increase in risk of suicide, risk of self-harm, and more troubling behaviours.”[page 329]
Battaglia also included the findings from The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare survey “children and adolescents (aged 4-17) found one in seven (13.9%) were assessed as experiencing mental health disorders in the previous 12 months. ADHD was the most common mental disorder (7.4% of all children and adolescents), followed by anxiety disorders(6.9%), major depressive disorders (2.8%) and conduct disorders (2.1%).” [page 328]. The Breakfast Club of Canada also reported a 50–80% increase in food insecurity. “This means more than one in three Canadian children may experience hunger daily.”
At the beginning of the school year, the Kids Help Phone website shared a list of youths’ views on returning to school as being the following:
- Anxiety about starting at a new school (particularly for newcomers)
- Difficulty finding resources for the clothes and other supplies
- Excitement about sports and extracurricular activities
- Fear of failing/falling behind/being left out
- Joy at seeing old friends/making new friends
- Optimism about being back in class
- Separation anxiety
- Stress about relocating for school (especially in remote communities)
- Systemic racism
- And more
How can aromatherapists help to address these concerns? What are some school, home and student-safe remedies to help our children succeed?
- A good night’s sleep (at least eight hours)
- Set bedtimes and wake-up times
- Try a calming synergy diffusion while reading a book to them
- No screen time an hour before bedtime
- Make a “monster no more” spray with hydrosols for those with fears
- Prepare a bath containing calming essential oils in fun-shaped bath bombs
- Nutritious meals
- Allow your child to help prepare their lunches
- Check to see if a breakfast club is available at your child’s school or explore opening one at your child’s school
- Provide personal inhalers or aromatherapy jewellery with an aroma that the child helped to formulate
- Use when studying for a test (the scent will also help students recall what they have learned), presentation or any other stress-inducing event
- Encourage physical movement, yoga and mediation
There are so many essential oils to choose from, but they must be age-appropriate for safety. The Lea Jacobson, CCA, of Using Essential Oils Safely shared a list of essential oils we can safely diffuse (3–5 drops), used in a personal inhaler (10 drops), jewellery (1 drop on pad) and tropical use with a carrier oil (1% dilution) for their antidepressant properties:
- Bergamot (Citrus bergamia): diffuse for daytime calming
- Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica): diffuse for nighttime sedating
- Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens, Pelargonium x asperum): diffuse for crankiness
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula officinalis, Lavandula vera): diffuse for calming or sedating
- Lemon (Citrus limon): diffuse to elevate mood
Amy Emnett, CCA, CHHP, shared essential oil recipes to help the “Equip Your Child with Tools for a Successful School Year” presentation.
Keep Your Eye On The Prize personal inhaler
Five drops lemon (Citrus limon)
Three drops frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
Two drops vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides)
Wake Me Up personal inhaler
Three drops lime (Citrus x aurantifolia)
Two drops pink grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)
One drop peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
Sweet Dreams pillow spray
Two oz. grain alcohol (90% Everclear)
Two drops Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
Five drops cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) or sandalwood (Santalum spicatum)
Six drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula officinalis, Lavandula vera)
Seven drops green mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
Whether your child goes to school or stays home, talk to them and listen to them. Children can sense your fears and take them unto themselves. Our schools’ structure is different than what we have known. There is a lot of uncertainty about the best way to continue teaching and allowing safe social interactions for our children. If we can provide a safe and ensuring home environment, our children can succeed in unstable ones. They can achieve their goals for a successful school year.
Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy Vol lll - Psyche & Subtle. Third ed., vol. 3, Brisbane, Black Pepper Creative, 2021.
Breakfast Club Canada. “#FeedKidsNow.” Covid-19 Emergency Fund, 2020, breakfastclubcanada.org. Accessed 1 August 2021.
Emnett CCA, CHHP, Amy. “Equip Your Child With Tools For A Successful School Year.” blossomandblends.com. Accessed 1 August 2021.
Jacobson CCA, Lea. A Guide to Using Essential Oils Safely With Children. Using Essential Oils Safely, unknown. UsingEOsSafely.com.
The Kids Help Phone Canada. “Covid-19.” Covid-19, 2020, kidshelpphone.ca. Accessed 1 August 2021.
Tisserand, Robert, and Rodney Young. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Second ed., Edinburgh, London, New York, Oxford, Philadelphia, St Louis, Sydney, Toronto, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014.
About the author: With a family heritage that includes a Pendle Hill Witch and a love of gardening, learning and researching, it’s no surprise that Maxine Barclay developed a passion for aromatherapy and herbalism. Maxine studied aromatherapy and gained her Certified Clinical Aromatherapist title through Joyessence. She has also studied under some of the most respected herbalists including Rosemary Gladstar, Micheal Woods, Rosalee de la Forêt and Sajah Popham. She is currently enrolled in Wild Rose College’s herbalism program. She believes everyone is unique and guides her clients to herbs and essential oils that are unique to them. You can follow Maxine on Facebook and Instagram @aromacomforts4u or e-mail her at Aromacomforts4u@gmail.com.
Photo by Max Fischer from Pexels