Scents to Help Toddlers Sleep

A day filled with discovery and play can leave little ones feeling restless, overtired or unable to calm down and relax at bedtime. Aromatherapy is one natural way to promote sleep in toddlers, according to Trevor Holly Cates, of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Establish a bedtime routine for your child and incorporate soothing, calming scents to help her drift off at the end of the day.


People often drink chamomile tea before bed to help them relax and prepare for sleep. This carminative herb is also often used to help soothe colicky infants at bedtime. A warm cup of unsweetened chamomile tea before bed can help your child drift off, but, if your toddler doesn’t take to the distinct taste, make your own herbal sachet with dried chamomile flowers to place inside your toddler’s pillowcase. Another idea is to place a dish filled with the flowers out of reach in his bedroom to promote sleep naturally through the unique, calming scent of chamomile.


Lavender is a naturally calming scent with gentle sedative properties that can help your little one relax and sleep at the end of the day. Use a lavender-scented soap at bath time to promote sleepiness in your toddler, or give him a relaxing body massage before bed using a lavender-scented baby lotion. The warm bath water and rhythmic pressure strokes from your hands also promote sleep by relaxing your child’s muscles.

Lemon Balm and Valerian

According to the University of Michigan Health System, a combination of lemon balm and valerian herbs is effective in curing insomnia and improving sleep 1. Mix a few drops of lemon balm and valerian essential oils in an oil diffuser to keep in your child’s room at night on a high shelf or other out-of-reach place. Or, add a few drops of the oil to bath water to soothe, calm, and relax your toddler before bedtime and help him fall asleep. Get approval from your child’s pediatrician first to avoid an allergic reaction or other possible side effect.

Other Scents

Unique scents may be of special comfort to your toddler, such as the smell of his freshly laundered, favorite blanket or the aroma of your shampoo, which might remind him of snuggling with you. Avoid overpowering scents or energizing, invigorating scents, such as ginger or peppermint, at bedtime.