Children are headed back to school after a long summer break likely unprepared to start the school routine again. Parents may be fretting over making a healthy lunch again. Teachers have lessons prepared and homework to dish out. Yes, I said the word homework. Don’t worry. Here are five essential oils to help make homework time more productive.

First, a few quick tips to prepare for homework. Try to set aside a specific homework spot that is quiet, free of distractions, and allows your child to focus. Get everything (pencil, calculator, protractor, water, and healthy snack) your child will need ready ahead of time. Eliminate technology distractions (phone, television, video game console). Consider playing soft instrumental music, which some research suggests improves concentration. Now that you are prepared, let’s talk essential oils that help enhance focus, concentration, and memory.

  1. Peppermint. Clinical research demonstrates that inhalation of peppermint essential oil improves attention, speed, and accuracy while performing clerical tasks. Other research shows it enhances overall cognition and memory. This suggests that it can help improve task performance and may help your child get his or her homework done quickly and more accurately.
  2. Black Spruce. If your child is anxious about homework, consider black spruce essential oil. Black spruce is rich in a constituent called bornyl acetate, which clinical research shows can produce a calming effect ­without diminishing task performance.
  3. Vetiver. Known as a calming oil, vetiver essential oil regulates nervous system activity to promote a calm but focused state. Scientists have observed that inhaling vetiver oil improves attention while performing visual discrimination tasks (something critical to reading, writing, learning, and social behavior).
  4. Cinnamon Bark. Researchers who tested the effects of inhaling cinnamon aroma on cognition found that it enhances attention, memory, and visual-motor response speed (the time it takes the brain to process information received from the eyes and complete a motor response to that stimulus).
  5. Rosemary. Prized for its memory benefits, rosemary essential oil has been clinically tested in children aged 13 to 17. What the scientists found was that inhalation of rosemary oil significantly increased memory recall and number memorization. Rosemary may be the difference between acing a test and performing poorly.

Give your child an edge as he or she heads back to school with essential oils. Any of these single essential oils, or even better combinations, can be diffused (about 10 drops) during homework time to make it more focused and successful. You’ll be saner and your child will be more successful in school.