Recently, my tween daughter has tried her best to adopt my morning coffee habit. About half of the time I’m a firm no: She’s too young for coffee. The other half? I’m too tired to argue. (Thus, the coffee.) It’s about time for me to make a clear decision, and these articles about whether you should let kids drink coffee are helping.
FWIW, my kids don’t drink caffeinated sodas, so if — okay, when — I let them have a morning coffee, I know it’ll be their last sip of caffeine for the day. This may be something worth factoring into your own decision making too.
Related: The secret for how to make coffee less bitter.
1. Why is it bad for kids to drink coffee? Ha, spoiler alert! This article lays out the common side effects for kids, including some that they admit are myths. Even though the author’s point of view is clear from the title, I found reading this helpful because it helped me determine some preventative actions to take if I let my kids drink in moderation.
2. I found the information in this post titled “When is it OK for kids to start drinking coffee?” to be pretty balanced, and the specific ages mentioned proved a helpful guide. Also, it turns out that Swedes let their kids drink coffee really young. So, maybe it’s not so bad after all? (Warning: Turn down the volume before clicking through here.)
3. The Washington Post has weighed in on this issue, too, and their piece has good info about how much caffeine is recommended for kids per day — and how much is in the other drinks they may choose instead of coffee. Yep, eye opening.
4. There’s some fascinating info in this post at Epicurious, including how caffeine affects boys and girls differently. And great advice for kids tempted to layer coffee, soda, and energy drinks. The hard line: Don’t.
5. How Stuff Works reminds us that caffeine isn’t the only factor to consider when thinking about when to share coffee with kids, especially since tweens aren’t drawn to black coffee as much as they are to the calorie-and-sugar-laden caramel frappuccino with whip cream.
Related: Two-tone ombre deliciousness at Starbucks. If you order it right.
6. Live Science asked 5 experts their take on kids and coffee, and you get a range of perspectives here from “it could be fine” to “don’t do it.” Moderation seems to be key.
7. Read this article about the impact of caffeine on kids with ADHD at Healthline if that’s something you also need to consider.
8. This academic believes that a latte break at school is a great idea for kids.
9. Many people seem to agree with this notion put forward by our friends at The Kitchn: Why start kids on something that could be addictive? Then again, in moderation, it’s probably fine. And energy drinks are still way worse.
10. I’m fairly convinced by this approach by Catherine McCord of Weelicious at Huff Post, who lets her 4 and 2 year olds drink some decaf…occasionally.
Photo at top: Javier Molina via Unsplash
Photo in post: Hanny Naibaho via Unsplash
Watch this Ted-Ed talk on the effects of caffeine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foLf5Bi9qXs
Although has some short term benefits, longer term can result in higher blood pressure, anxiety, more of a tired feeling. I’ve seen a person get more tired each day with coffee (I think he started becoming addicted to having an afternoon drink) and therefore stopped performing well at school due to being tired all the time.
I suggest waiting to give your child coffee.
Thanks for the extra resource, Justine!
This 50+ mom, with five sons ranging from age 11 to 32, suggests that you young moms be consistent with the rules. If we give into whims, then perhaps the lesson is that rules are meant to be broken. Clearly stated rules that are followed won’t be open to arguments. I say, let them drink some decaffeinated coffee. Don’t make a big deal out of! Enjoy conversation with them while you share a mug of java!