“I feel that the importance of physical touch between a parent and child is so valuable. Applying essential oils to my children in the evening really encourages me to take that time to just ‘be’ with them after what is usually a busy day. I feel the connection and I think my kids do too.”

Jen Edwards, Mum of 3

We, as parents and caregivers of children, have the ability to ease fear and anxiety and create a unique connection through the senses. We know that touch is important. We can also understand the immediate emotional reaction that can be initiated through smell. Essential oils have the power to integrate these powerful human sensory systems to reinforce bonds with the most important people in our lives.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are naturally derived aromatic compounds that are extracted and distilled from plants. These extracts have been used throughout history to enhance overall health and wellbeing . Essential oils have a variety of different aromas that can help create a relaxing, energising or uplifting environment. They are a perfect tool for creating connections, open communication and showing empathy without words. The connection between essential oils and their effect on our emotions is one of the most discussed areas of aromatherapy.

The power of smell – how does it work?

“Smell is the primordial sense, more powerful, more primitive, more intimately tied to our memories and emotions than any other. A scent can trigger spiritual, emotional or physical peace and stimulate healing and wellness.”

Donna Karan

The olfactory system is incredibly important and unique. It sends information to the brain from the nose and is directly linked with the limbic system (the part of the brain responsible for memory and emotion). The limbic system bypasses certain parts of the brain, so smells can trigger deep emotions – both positive and negative. Smell is considered the most significant trigger of memory because of this neurophysiological connection.

The power of touch – how do I incorporate essential oils?

“No other form of communication is as universally understood as touch. The compassionate touch of a hand or a reassuring hug can take away our fears, soothe our anxieties and fill the emptiness of being lonely.” Randi G Fine
Studies have found that no matter how well a child is nourished and stimulated intellectually, not having human touch can actually affect their mental, emotional and even physical growth. Touch is essential to survival and it is extremely important in communicating and connecting with your child. It can be a way of communicating empathy without words, which in some cases is more powerful.

The lack of touch can cause weaker immune systems and babies, who are deprived of touch, can’t survive. Touch can boost brain development in a child and has an impact on mental and emotional development. Children who receive touch will actually sleep better and are less unbalanced during the day! There are so many reasons why it’s important to have a physical connection with our children. When mixed with a carrier oil or lotion and applied to the body, essential oils can penetrate the skin and move into the lymphatic system, where they can have positive physiological effects.

How can I use essential oils to improve emotional bonds?

Consider the type of intention you would like to establish with your child. This will change depending on the situation. Perhaps they are upset about something that happened at school. Soothing oils that are calming to the nervous system include Roman Chamomile, Bergamot, Sandalwood, Vetiver and Lavender. Maybe they are struggling with a situation and they are feeling low because they don’t know how to resolve it. Uplifting stimulants that reinforce joy and clarity could include any of the citrus oils or Basil, Jasmine, Peppermint, Ylang Ylang and Rosemary. They could be feeling sad because of a situation with a friend or feeling lonely. Oils that promote feelings of love and peace include Frankincense, Rose, Neroli, Geranium and Sandalwood.

There are many ways to incorporate oils into regular moments of physical interaction with your child. Give a hand massage, a head massage, add a drop to sunscreen, diffuse different oils in your home at certain times of the day, massage oils into the soles of the feet or a nice, relaxing, soothing bath.

We have a routine in my house after the girls have had their baths and are ready for bed. They each will spend a little time with me individually for a massage. I massage Lavender, diluted in coconut oil, onto their backs to assist sleep. I put a Lavender and Frankincense blend on their chest. I rub a drop of Vetiver into their temples and back of the neck. And if they are feeling a little unwell I will massage an immune blend onto the soles of their feet. This has become a part of our bedtime routine and it gives us an opportunity to connect, chat and wind down at the end of the day. I get so much out of this short interaction as well. It takes less than 5 minutes and has become an important part of our busy lives. I also diffuse essential oils in their bedroom every night and that scent has become a trigger for ‘bedtime’. They intuitively know that it’s time to slow down and rest.

These small gestures are only one area where we use essential oils, but they have become so important to help to develop a significant and strong connection with my children. I have noticed that we communicate better, they fall asleep quicker and sleep through the night more often, they are more relaxed and able to express their feelings and our bond has strengthened.

Are they safe?

Not all essential oils are the same. Quality and purity is extremely important when choosing essential oils. Oils are very powerful and when we put them on our skin or inhale them we are taking in all their properties. We need to make sure that we are not also adding toxins to the body. This becomes even more important when we are using them on our babies and children. Please do your research or contact me for more information on the brand that I use.

We, as parents and caregivers, have such a wonderful opportunity to connect, guide and support our children. It’s not always easy and often we don’t know what to say or do to improve a situation. Using the sense of touch and smell can be a powerful way of communicating empathy, understanding our children’s emotions and expressing love non-verbally. Essential oils are a perfect tool to combine the senses to reinforce those bonds with the ones we cherish most.

Caution: When using essential oils topically, please always dilute them in a carrier oil. The oils are strong and potent and can cause skin irritations if not diluted. The essential oils actually work better if blended in a carrier oil and that makes them more economical too!


We are not licensed physicians and cannot diagnose or prescribe. Please seek professional advice for any illness or chronic health conditions. We do not claim to diagnose, prevent or treat diseases, just support natural wellness. The statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA).

Darien Allan is a mum of two young girls, a lover of animals, a former primary teacher and a doTERRA wellness advocate.  She grew up in Canada and has been living in Australia for the past 10 years.  She has degrees in Psychology and Education and has always been interested in natural health and alternative medicines. Her love of essential oils began many, many years ago, but it was about 3 years ago that she began incorporating them into her every day life. Initially, she began using them to help with grief and loneliness, after her mother died. After learning more about essential oils she soon discovered that they could also support her children with everyday ailments.  Embracing a low toxic life and feeling empowered by having natural tools on hand, she became a wellness advocate and now shares her love of essential oils with the world.  She mostly helps mums with young children but now even her 75 year old father is using essential oils!