Going back to school. Methods and tips on how to support your child or teen with returning to school.

The past 6 months has presented many challenges for all of us, particularly for our children and teenagers. Schools closed, exams were cancelled, cubs and swimming lessons stopped, children were told to stay in and keep safe.
Now children and teenagers are getting ready to go back to school which will feel different to one they left behind in March. The anticipation of a new school year, transitioning to secondary school, GCSE’S and A Levels will feel different. Anxiety levels, fear , irrational thoughts may be at the forefront rather than the excitement of new beginnings.
Children and teenagers may also have enjoyed the home setting away from school pressures such as exams and perhaps bullying. A sudden change of environment from home to school may increase their stress levels and cause feelings of despair, angst, fear and depression.
We can help to support our children and teenagers with some quite simple tools so their return to school may feel a positive and nurturing experience.  Mental wellbeing for the young will hopefully be at heart of each school as their pupils’ return.
Step 1. Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a gentle and effective natural therapy that can be a wonderful support to children and teens. Aromatherapy is the use of plant and flower extracts.  The oils may provide relief from anxiety, depression, and other emotional conditions, resulting in a sense of peace and well-being.
Aromatherapy can support and  heal by triggering “feel-good” chemicals in the brain, which can cause physical and psychological changes in the body. Essential oils are the perfect for children of all ages and there are any different methods for you to safely use them in your home.
What are the benefits to using aromatherapy with children?
There are many benefits to using
Many parents and professionals have found that essential oils can:
  • reduce anxiety
  • ease depression or feelings of grief
  • help children focus and alleviate symptoms of ADD
  • calm children at bedtime and given them more restful sleep 
  • ease transition troubles
  • reduce tantrums
  • calm aggressive behaviours
  • Balance hormones
  • Support with study and homework
Diffusing Essential Oils .
This is a popular method for home. The use of diffusers has increased over the past few years. You could diffuse oils in the morning before school, or while doing homework .
Blend 1                                                                Blend 2
Grounding Blend  In 10 ml Base Oil                  Sleepytime Blend
Frankincense  2                                                     Mandarin 2
Lavender     2                                                       Roman Chamomile 2
Cypress  1                                                               Rose Otto 1
Children may also struggle with concentration and tiredness as they return to school . Oils such as Peppermint, Sweet Orange, Rosemary and Lemon may help to decrease fatigue and increase focus. You could perhaps make a Roller Ball for your child with essential oils that they could use before school and for homework.  
Always check with a qualified Aromatherapist before using oils for safety and appropriate dilution. Check for allergens such as Almond Oil and Wheatgerm Oil. Be cautious with sensitive skins. Always dilute your oils before applying to the skin in a base or carrier oil. Keep out of the reach of children. Do not digest or drink any essential oils.
Step 2 Massage
Massage can be a wonderful way for a child or teenager to relax  combined with essential oils. It can be a time of bonding ,  offering support along with the comforting power of touch.  A simple hand massage can relax the mind and body instantly. This can be done any time with  lovely blend of oils to support the hormones, panic, fear. It also allows for ‘quiet time’ where a child might then feel they can open up and talk about how they are feeling.
Simple Hand Massage demo…..Amelie
Hormonal Blend for Teenage Girls Ideal for a Hand Massage
10 ml Grapeseed oil or other base oil
 2 Geranium
1 Rose
1 lavender
Step 3 Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation are another method that can help bring some harmony to life when it feels pressured. There are many schools who now adopt this approach into their school day. It can be an approach that can also be brought into the home to support children and teens. There are many books that you can follow at home as part of  an evening routine for younger children and there are many books for teenagers that can support their journeys , making them feel more resilient , boosting self-esteem, improving confidence and calming  minds. While life is already complicated for teenagers, it’s not going to get easier on its own.  School may feel like a challenge, but what follows tends to be more of a challenge. Students either transition to college or the workforce both of which include new environments, social settings, and responsibilities. Learning how to get stress and anxiety under control as a teenager will help set them up to make these transitions into adult life much smoother and easier than continuing on the path they are on.
Benefits of meditation include:
  • Reduces stress, anxiety, and even depression
  • Improves grades and performance on standardized tests
  • Increases attention and concentration
  • Changes the brain in ways that protect against mental illness and improve control over emotions
  • Increases compassion and empathy
  • Improves sleep
Recorded Meditation.
Step 4 Time in Nature
Children have a natural affinity with nature. Time spent outside away from technology and smartphones can help increase fitness levels whilst at the same time diminish stress levels and anxiety in some children and teenagers.
“Studies have found that connecting  with nature makes people more kind and better at interacting with others in social settings. Nature also provides sensory and intellectual stimulation that can enhance concentration, creativity, and performance inside and outside the classroom’’
Children and teenagers have become evermore reliant on their technology to communicate with friends and family  over this challenging time and may seem reluctant to put them down so parents and carers may have to be creative and inspiring with ideas.  Maybe a walk in the woods, playing games outdoors with friends, rollerblading at the park or seafront, Forest School, and woodland games. There are many wonderful books for creative ideas that you can use such as           ‘I Love My World’ , is a playful hands on, nature connection guidebook by Chris Holland
Nature can help to build confidence, promote creativity and imagination, teach responsibility, provide different stimulation and motivation.
Step 5 Journaling
There will be times many of us have kept a diary or journal. Through our teen years, travelling, work. This can allow us to keep track of what is happening in our lives and how we are feeling. Journaling has many positive effects and a method that can encourage teenagers and older children to express their thoughts and feelings. For younger children it can also be combined with pictures.
Journaling also has the added benefits of
  • Lowering stress
  • Keeping things clear in your head
  • releasing negative thoughts
  • mindfulness effect
There are many websites that you can gain ideas from for your children to support anxiety through writing. It can help to ‘declutter’ thoughts and unravel unhealthy patterns which may impact a child’s or teens day.
Step 6 Healthy Eating
This is probably one of the most important aspects to good health and balanced minds. Children’s bodies need healthy nutrition to help them learn and grow. As parents and carers we need to encourage healthy eating choices. This can be harder for teenagers as they are away from the home more and may make more unhealthy eating choices Teenagers need more calories as they are growing and changing so quickly. Teens need extra nutrients to support bone growth, hormonal changes and organ and tissue development, including the brain. Teens should eat breakfast, drink water and limit highly processed food, sugary drinks and eating out. Healthy eating habits and physical activity can help lower the risk of obesity.
Healthy packed lunches for children with lots of coloured vegetables and fruit will help them through their day and keep their energy up.
Top brain foods for kids include Fatty Fish such as salmon or tuna; Full of Omega 3 which is essential for brain health. Eggs, wholegrains, berries, colourful vegetables, milk and yoghurts. They are full of essential vitamins for growth, healthy hearts  and healthy bones.
Kelly Horne is an Aromatherapist in West Sussex. She runs a successful practice Revive Therapy and creates be-spoke blends for all your needs. She also co- runs a Complementary Therapy School, Sussex School of Natural Therapies and teaches to Diploma Level.




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