The Natural Mama’s Guide to Back to School

Where are my oily mamas at?? I am so SO excited to have Kristen on the blog today of @well.balanced.home on Instagram, she is going to share so many Back TO School oil tips with you so let’s get right into it!!


Hi! Thank you for stopping by to read The Natural Mama’s Guide to Back to School! Labor Day

has just passed, and here in the Northeast, that means that school is starting this week for most

families! I post a lot about natural living, essential oils, and non-toxic living hacks over on my

Instagram @well.balanced.home and I was so excited to be able to team up with Natalie to

bring you some of my favorite tips for the season! I would love to be friends on Instagram so

please follow along and say hi if you’re on there! I share a lot on stories about our behind the

scenes wellness routines and I love helping other Moms feel empowered on their journeys as

well, so don’t be shy to ask me any of your questions over there!

I first started my journey with essential oils when I had 2 boys under 2 in 2016. I initially just

wanted my house to smell yummy for the Holidays. I knew how some candles can burn off

some nasty chemicals, and I wanted to switch over to using beautiful diffusers throughout our

home instead. I did my research on different brands and decided on Young Living not only due

to their quality but also because they made it SO easy to transition our home to being chemical

free. The wide range of non-toxic products I could get (think deodorant to toothpaste to diaper

cream and even toxin-free make-up!) all in one place without having to run errands or research

ingredients was a huge win for me as a busy Mama of 2 active little boys.

From there, I dove in to learning about how essential oils do SO MUCH MORE than just make

your home smell amazing! When my oldest son was about to begin preschool, I got serious

about using our oils for immune support. At the same time, I had been swapping out my

household products like all-purpose cleaner and glass cleaner and things like handsoap and

laundry soap to the Thieves Line of homecare products to further support our family’s

immunity and remove toxins from our home. Traditional cleaning products can do harm such as

suppressing our immunity, disrupting our hormones, and causing respiratory irritation and

swapping in clean and safe products as I ran out of our old stuff was super easy and not

overwhelming- it is an incredibly empowering feeling!

This year I will have 2 in school and I can hardly believe it! My youngest is now 3.5 and is

starting preschool and my 5-year-old is starting Pre-K! It definitely feels like the end of an era 

But, I digress…supporting little immune systems is my #1 concern bc we all know how nasty the

germs can be in preschool. My go-tos to stock up on for the season are the Thieves handsoap,

the travel mini Thieves Spray, and the Hand Sanitizer! We have mini hand sanitizers in

backpacks and in the car- we use them immediately in the car at school pick up. Kills 99.9%

percent of germs just like traditional hand sanitizers but contains no triclosan or other sketchy

chemicals, also smells so good and doesn’t dry out your hands! Then, we wash hands as soon as

we get home using the Thieves handsoap- getting the Thieves oil blend on us in as many ways

as possible, and I will have them change clothes too. The mini spray is great for shopping carts,

restaurant high chairs, and if you’re travelling- airplane trays and doorknobs. I have wellness

rollers for my boys too that we swipe on feet and spines daily! I will get into that a little later! If

you are unfamiliar with the Thieves blend- google “Pubmed Clove” + “Pubmed Cinnamon” +

“Pubmed Lemon” + “Pubmed Eucalyptus” to read about the research on what the oils in this

one blend can do to support our bodies.

Theives cleaner

Lots of you reading this may already be oily, so let’s get to the essential oil tips!! The easy

button for kids is the Kidscents Line of oils- they are prediluted and ready to go for kids ages 2

and older!

GENEYUS

Ingredients: Sacred Frankincense, Blue Cypress, Cedarwood, Melissa, Idaho Blue Spruce, Palo

Santo, Northern Lights Black Spruce, Sweet Almond oil, Bergamot, Myrrh, Vetiver, Geranium,

Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang, Hyssop, Coriander, Rose.

Mamas, this blend is full of all the high sesquiterpene oils (think brain food) that will help

kiddos be the little genius they were born to be! Apply this oil topically to base of skull, crown

of head, behind ears, and over forehead.

OWIE

Ingredients: Idaho Balsam Fir, Tea Tree, Helichrysum, Elemi, Cistus, Hinoki, and Clove.

ALL the happy skin and restorative oils!!! This has replaced Neosporin in our home. I also love it

as a spot treatment for breakouts for me- google skin benefits of Helichrysum!

TUMMYGIZE

Ingredients: Spearmint, Peppermint, Tangerine, Fennel, Anise, Ginger, and Cardamom. Apply to

little bellies and on bottoms of feet and have them inhale from the bottle for any tummy

troubles.

SNIFFLEEASE

Ingredients: Eucalyptus Blue, Palo Santo, Lavender, Dorado Azul, Ravintsara, Myrtle, Eucalyptus

Globulus, Marjoram, Pine, Cypress, Black Spruce, and Peppermint.

Like seriously, how can tiny humans produce SO MUCH MUCUS when they have a cold????

Thank you sweet Jesus for SniffleEase. It does just that- eases the sniffles. We apply this to feet,

chest, back, behind ears, and base of skull. I also love to diffuse it with lemon!

SLEEPYIZE

Ingredients: Lavender, Geranium, Roman Chamomile, Tangerine, Bergamot, Sacred

Frankincense, Valerian, and Rue.

Sleep. Sleepy. Sleeping kids. The only time of day us parents can eat our snacks and watch

reality TV in peace lol. I suppose more importantly- kids need a good night’s sleep for their

emotional and physical well being ;) Sleep is restorative, nourishing, and fortifying for the body

and making sure kids get their full nine to 13 hours of sleep Is important. Rub this on feet,

wrists, back of neck, and put it in the diffuser. Night night wee ones.

Kids oils


Who loves roll-ons? I know we can make super cute oily roll-ons ourselves, but the premade

ones are my jam lately! It is just too easy to whip these out when I need them! I use all of these

on my 3 and 5 year old except for the Breathe Again- it is pretty strong, and I prefer to use that

one for me (total miracle for opening you up!) I love the Sniffleease blend for the kiddos for

easy breathing! Here is a quick guide to what they are used for. The calming and sleep blends I

like to apply behind their ears and down their necks. The Thieves immune support roller we

apply to spines and feet DAILY. Using oils is all about daily support, not waiting until you have a

problem to use them!

essential oil rollers

We can’t talk about essential oils and not give some diffuser recipe ideas!! Here are some of my

favorites just from using my starter kit of oils!

Rise N Shine

  • 5 drops Stress Away

  • 2 drops Peppermint

Sweet Dreams

  • 2 drops Valor

  • 4 drops Lavender

  • 2 drops Peace and Calming

Stay Well

  • 5 drops Thieves

  • 4 drops Citrus Fresh

Homework Helper

  • 4 Stress Away

  • 4 Valor

Breathe Easy

  • 4 Lemon

  • 3 Raven

diffuser blends

There really is a lot more I could say! There are recipes for sprays you can make to protect their

hair from cooties (every parents nightmare!!), sleep/linen sprays, natural hair detangler and

hair growth promoting sprays,+ rollers for everything imaginable lol! Maybe we can do a future

post for all the DIY Mamas! I do want to recommend the book Oil + Glass from Amazon for your

all your DIY needs- it is a lifesaver to have such effective recipes all in one spot! But for now I

just wanted to cover how easy it can be to support immunity, make simple swaps for less toxic

living, and how to use oils safely topically and in the diffuser around kids  I am a total open

book so you can always DM me on Instagram @well.balanced.home to chat more about any

specific needs that you have! If you wanted to grab anything that I mentioned today, reach out

to me and I will help you along, and I have a special gift for Natalie’s readers! Thanks again for

taking the time out of your busy day to read this, Mama! Bring on the school year- we’ve got

this! -Kristen

Fun Summer Games For Moving Kids Away From Screens And Back To The Basics

Mamas I am so excited to kick off The Modern Mamahood blog feature series with an absolutely incredible mama Julie Forrester, she’s @TheMotorMamas on Instagram so go follow her!!

Here she is to share some amazing tips and tricks for your kiddos.

In this part of the country, kids are winding down summer and getting ready to start a new school year. Summertime is such a great time of the year to make memories and have some fun. However, lots of parents are worried about the kids losing some school skills over the summer. This is often called the “summer slide”. While some loss of skill is expected, you don’t want the kids to forget too much! There’s also the dreaded “mom, I’m bored!” that we often hear from our kiddos. As a school-based Occupational Therapist, I enjoy coming up with activities for both kids and parents that can help keep the underlying skills on track. I’ve composed a list of some of my favorite summer games and memory makers that keep little hands moving and off screens! 

  1. Watermelon Fruit Skewers

If your family is anything like mine, then watermelon is a staple throughout summer! Since kids are also in snack mode 24/7 during the summer, what better way to get in some fine motor strengthening, coordination practice AND snack time all in one?

Materials

  • Watermelon

  • Melon baller or ice cream scoop

  • Skewers 

First, slice the watermelon in half. Use melon ballers or an ice cream scoop to make melon balls! Don’t eat them yet - that’s next! 

Take the melon balls and place them on the skewer to make fruit kabobs. Add other fruit that your kids enjoy, or add large marshmallows for a special treat. I added grapes (quarter for kids under 4), strawberries, and marshmallows to mine. 

School Skills:

  • Hand strength

  • Finger dexterity (how well our fingers move together to make fine movements)

  • Hand-eye coordination 

  • Graded hand control (being able to control pressure)

    2. Sight Word Spelling

Sight words are a huge part of the elementary curriculum. However, most kids find just rote practice of reading and spelling words boring. All kids learn differently, and some really absorb the information better when it is presented in a hands-on approach. Kids can practice sight words by writing them in shaving cream, sand (you can find sand at most craft or hardware stores, or bring home some sand from the beach!), or with frozen paint cubes. If you’re into less mess, the following activity makes a great car or doctor’s office activity. 

Materials

  • Sight word list

  • Letter beads (found at most craft stores or online)

  • Pipe cleaners or string

  • Storage container/bag 

Many teachers send home lists of sight words throughout the year, but you can also find a list online from a simple Google search. You can present the words one by one for the child to copy, or you can give them a list of 5 - 10 words at a time to make the activity more challenging. Younger kids can locate and find single letters or spell their names, while older kids can form sentences using the words and string the sentence onto the pipe cleaner or string. 

*If your child is having a hard time placing the beads onto a string, start with a pipe cleaner for more stability. 

 School Skills:

  • Visual scanning

  • Working memory

  • Bilateral hand skills (using both hands together)

  • Pincer grasp

    3. Q-tip Art

This activity is great for kids of all ages. Paint can be messy, but messy is FUN! Kids need to be allowed to get messy sometimes to learn to tolerate dirt or food on their hands and faces.

Materials:

  • Q tips 

  • Paint

  • Small cups

  • Printable coloring pages

I did a quick Google search of “q tip painting templates for kids” and found TONS of free printable options! Use the dotted pages for a challenge - or use any coloring page you have around the house already! Set up the paint station with each color in a cup and a few q tips designated for each color. My nephew really enjoyed making the coloring page look like it was pixelated! 

School Skills:

  • Pencil grasp

  • Attention

  • Hand-eye coordination

  • Visual motor skills

  • Visual Tracking 

  • Visual discrimination 

    4. Balloon Catch

Stuck indoors from heat or rain? Clear out a safe space and play balloon catch! First, let the kids pick the “catcher” of their choice. A shopping bag, bowl, pot, sand bucket or net would be great! Next, take a couple balloons, hit them up in the air and see who can catch one, using their designated “catcher” of course. This game would be perfect for a two story house - you could drop the balloons down onto the first floor! If you want to add some academics, have kids make a hypothesis of what item will be able to catch a balloon easiest! This can also be adapted to use water balloons, but you may not want to play that way in your living room ;) 

School Skills:

  • Hand-eye coordination

  • Impulse control 

    5. Yoga

Ok, this is by far one of my FAVORITE activities, and is a great summer activity too! YouTube is a great resource here, especially if you’re looking for a way to make screen time productive. While I tend to stay away from screens for kids as much as possible, this keeps them moving and is interactive. There are also some analog options: some of my favorite yoga cards are from Yogarilla (from Super Duper Publications). These are a set of bright, colorful cards that come with directions for each pose and modifications if needed.  There are also sets of Yoga dice (also found on Amazon, can you tell that’s a go-to for me?) that you roll for instructions.

School Skills:

  • Body awareness

  • Muscle strengthening 

  • Self control 

  • Motor planning

I hope you and your family enjoy these activities as summer winds down and the kids get ready for school!

Interested in more tips, tricks and info to keep your child’s fine motor and gross motor skills working? Follow me on Instagram @TheMotorMamas! We’re a team of Occupational and Physical Therapist mamas with a passion for screen-free, developmentally-appropriate play! We’ve just started dipping our toes into the blogging world, so come grow with us!

DIY 30 Second Makeup Brush Cleaner

You guys this is the BEST makeup brush cleaner I have ever used and it literally takes 30 seconds to clean your brushes.

Enjoy the video!! This is just one more way you can get rid of the toxic load in your home.

-Glass mason jar with lid for storage -1 cup distilled water -½ cup witch hazel -3 tbsp Dr. Bronner unscented baby soap -4 drops lavender essential oil -4 drops tea tree essential oil Directions: Pour all ingredients into the mason jar and shake with lid on. Pour a small amount of the cleaner into a small cup or bowl and place your dirty makeup brushes in there and let sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Rinse brushes out under cold water massaging the bristles to get all of the cleaning solution out. Lay flat to dry.

Dr. Bronner Soap: https://rstyle.me/+rXqFAhAk7NDRz8VkXq...

Witch Hazel: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...

Lavender EO: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/pro...

Tea Tree EO: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/pro...

Mason Jar: https://rstyle.me/+ffzmO8FG7zOlZZkbOk...