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You want to keep your family healthy naturally.

You know, based on your research, that plant-based remedies are a good move. They’re safe. They’re effective. They can save you a lot of money. And you like that essential oils are a super easy way to use herbs in your home.

But. When it comes to using them on kids or even beyond the basic diffuser recipe for feeling more “uplifted,” stuff gets confusing.

Between the Chicken Littles who insist you must follow very strict essential oil usage guidelines lest you accidentally kill someone and the uber-liberal essential oil users who insist that bad side effects are impossible, what do you do?

Do you freeze, fearful of all the what-ifs or blaze forward and throw caution to the wind?

Some will choose one or the other, but not you. You’re wise. You have common sense. You know there’s a better way that blends caution with trying new things.

That is the approach I’ve used in my own home with very good results. Herbs, and especially essential oils, are a wonderful tool and I’ve used them for years to nurture my own family.

In that time I’ve learned a lot about using essential oils, especially with kids, and today I wanted to share some tips based on research and personal experience. I want to help you lay aside any fears you have and go forth feeling confident in your ability to use these tools for your family.

So how do you use essential oils with kids in a way that’s safe and effective?

1. Teach them

Because they are listening. I was packing a first aid kit with oils the other day and decided to quiz my daughter who was helping me. She knew what each of the six oils was for and how to use them.

Now, I don’t sit down and lecture my kids on how to use different oils (tried that once – they didn’t pay attention for long), but when I use an oil, I’ll just say what it is and why I’m using it. It’s casual and I don’t always remember to do it, but they sure do remember when they need an oil.

2. Be Picky

It’s no secret that I’m picky about the essential oils I use. When I first found out about oils, I got them from my dad. He’s an herb farmer who got me some essential oils at a great price. But even before doing much research I knew that I wouldn’t use those oils for anything but cleaning.

Being a minimalist, I wanted something I could use for cleaning and for the wellness uses I’d been reading about. After researching and trying different oils, I settled on doTERRA for their committment to purity. I’ve been nothing but happy with them.

Am I saying you have to use doTERRA’s oils? No. Do your research and find a brand that you feel safe using on your family. But please, be picky. Quality matters and there are many brands available today that skimp there to raise profits.

If you have questions about doTERRA, feel free to contact me so we can chat.

3. Dilute

Children have sensitive skin and you want to dilute oils with them when you are using them topically.

Side note: If you are using oils aromatically in a child’s room, cycle between using the diffuser for an hour or two, and shutting it off for just as long to avoid overexposure.

An added benefit to dilution is better absorption since you’re using a carrier oil. Bonus. A baseline recommended dilution is to use one drop essential oil to four drops carrier oil. However, this chart offers dilution rates for different ages.

4. Use caution

Treat essential oils like you would any other medicine and keep them out of reach of children unless you are supervising their use. Even though they’re natural, they still need to be used with care.

5. Use them

That said, don’t be afraid to use your oils! As my kids have gotten older, I’ve made my oils more accessible. For instance, I have the doTERRA Touch line in the living room and my kids are able to grab these diluted roller bottles of oil and use them when they need them.

If they need something else, they talk to me about it and I let them know which oil to grab from my oil box. If something comes up, try the oils first.

Even if you decide to make a doctor’s appointment, give the oils a shot. At best, they’ll be on the mend by the time you get to your appointment. At worst, you’ve hopefully eased some of their discomfort.

6. Use references

Reference books are an essential tool to have so that you have a place to look for suggestions. They will give suggestions on which oils to use, how much and how often. In some cases, one application will do the trick. In others, you’ll need a few more applications.

I’m a huge fan of the Modern Essentials and The Essential Life books. Both are great resources for using essential oils with your family.

Reference books also contain important safety guidelines. For instance, using citrus oils on the skin when you’re outside is not advised as they increase photo-sensitivity and can lead to some pretty bad sunburns.

I highly recommend getting one or two reference books and reading through the safety guidelines and perusing some of the top concerns that you’ll be using oils for so that you feel more prepared when the need arises.

However, if you’re anything like the intentional moms I normally chat with about this stuff, you’ll probably read half the book the first day you get it. 😉

So where do you go with all this?

First, you’ll need a set of good, quality oils. You don’t need many, but you do need a small assortment to deal with the number of things that could come up.

Second, you need resources. Get some reference books that you can grab in the middle of the night when you need an answer quick.

p.s. Don’t forget that one of the biggest secrets of the family herbalist is to combine natural remedies with lots of snuggles. Go forth and nurture your family naturally, wise woman.