Summertime is redolent with scents that will bring forth memories years from now. The smell of a family cookout, watermelon and freshly cut grass will linger in a child’s mind as they make emotional connections which can be triggered years later. The sense of smell, also known as olfactory, can readily alter a child’s mood. Lavender can help your child relax and be calm. Here are a few ways lavender can be used to promote a calming sensation:
- Lavender scented lotions are an easy way to introduce the scent to baby and older children. Massage a small amount on their arms and legs after a warm bath to help your child unwind. This mild pressure from touch also promotes relaxation before bed.
- Dried lavender can be placed in a muslin bag and sewn shut to keep it in. Your child will enjoy holding and smelling the bag during story time. Dried lavender can also be mixed with dried lentils and made into an eye pillow for relaxation while you tell or read your child a story. Take the time to teach your child how to breathe in deeply and exhale to further the relaxation response.
- A few drops of lavender essential oil can also be added to a diffuser. Turn down the lights and play soothing music such as piano or lullabies for a peaceful atmosphere.
- Make your own play dough and add a few drops of lavender. Squeezing the dough is a stress buster and helps generate a sense of calm.
Setting time aside to teach your child how to be calm and relaxed with scents like lavender creates long-lasting memories by tapping into this powerful sense of smell. Enjoy and take a moment to relax yourself!
Lisa Cummings OTR/L
Director of Fun, Co-Founder & Mom of Four
Pediatric Occupational Therapist
Sensory Integration and Praxis Test Certified (SIPT)
Each HOOT for Kids blog represents our point of view but should not replace diagnosis and treatment from your own doctor or therapist