By Caryn Murray
The question is one that many parents and grandparents ask, or should ask. Sadly, there isn’t much information available that will tell you what an appropriate age is for a child to drink tea.
In most cases, parents can use their own responsible discretion before serving tea to a child. Some parents have even served tea (with milk) in a sippy cup or baby bottle to children as young as 2. Other parents, however, refuse to serve tea to a child until they feel the child is read, but then the question surfaces once again—when is a child ready to drink tea?
The answer is both simple and complicated. The best thing to do is to talk to your family doctor or pediatrician. However, the general answer is that you can serve tea to children, and it’s a good idea to do so! Tea is a powerful source of antioxidants and many other health benefits. When sweetened with honey and milk (extra milk for younger children), tea is a tasty beverage that keeps children healthy!
Also, a warm cup of tea at night can serve as part of a bedtime ritual that will help your child fall asleep. However, you should never, ever, ever serve a child tea that contains caffeine!
Serving tea without caffeine is a good idea, especially compared to many of the alternative beverages children often consume. It is not like serving coffee, even decaffeinated coffee, to a child because tea is a much better beverage to enjoy and a much better habit to learn.
In summary, consult with your pediatrician or family doctor before you serve tea to your child, otherwise stick to tea that contains little or no caffeine and dilute it with milk.