How Soon is Too Soon? A Kid's Guide to Drinking Tea Posted on 12 Jun 17:34

Apparently the latest controversy over what we eat and drink has arrived and it's this: from what age should kids be allowed to enjoy a nice cup of tea?

I actually started drinking tea quite late on as I came from a family of non-tea drinkers. I had my first brew around the age of 14. I actually had to dump quite a lot of sugar in the thing to make it taste palatable. (Quite a lot being around 4 to 5 teaspoons!)

I now like a cuppa strong with a splash of milk and putting even half a teaspoon of sugar in can make it taste too sweet.

It honestly hadn't even occurred to me that tea might not be appropriate for little'uns but since my nephew was born a few months ago, I've started to take an interest in these things (responsible aunty-ing). 

 

To break it down, tea contains:

Caffeine

Milk

Sugar (optional)

 

Caffeine, while improving concentration in the short-term, can have negative effects over the long-term and high consumption isn't recommended for adults, let alone children. Mood swings, anxiety, insomnia and hyperactivity can all be caused by taking in too much caffeine.

Milk shouldn't, according to the NHS, be given to children under the age of one so there is a definite age limit if this is how your tot takes it.

Sugar, while not necisarrily needed, does make tea a bit nicer for kids. However, the latest health guidelines strong advise limiting sugar intake to avoid the risk of childhood obesity and tooth decay.

 

I think the gist of all this is, like with anything, the best advice usually comes down to not overdoing it and taking everything in moderation! Although, speaking as a new and fast-becoming nuerotic aunty, I've just realised that tea is also very hot so I don't think I'll be getting the kettle on for my nephew just yet.

 

If you'd like to read up on this topic a bit more, here are some helpful articles:

Is it safe to give your child a cup of tea - here's what you need to know

Ask the Experts: When Can Kids Start Drinking Coffee?