If you’re a parent and a tea-drinker, no doubt you’ve had your children ask for sips of tea and denied them. While most of us don’t know the half-life of caffeine (the time it takes for the body to rid itself of half of the caffeine consumed) is 4.9 hours, we do know what happens when our kids consume it and don’t appreciate the challenge it creates for them when they try to lay down to sleep.
We found ourselves in a similar position, but as we re-acclimated to Michigan winters after living out of state for a dozen years, dinner was simply cozier and more enjoyable when all of us could partake in tea with supper.
We started out with herbals — I discovered the joy of a lemongrass herbal that literally made my mouth water and our son enjoyed the same herbal immensely. And because it was caffeine-free, I didn’t worry that he would be too wired to sleep properly that night. Our son still enjoys “his tea,” which is generally some type of herbal or decaffeinated tea.
But what to do if you don’t want to drink herbals? What if your children are old enough to handle small amounts of caffeine and you’d like them to develop a taste for tea?
Cambric tea is an easy solution to that. Much as the French add water and small amounts of wine to a glass for a 10 year old child at dinner, cambric tea is mostly milk, sugar, hot water, and splash of black tea. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about her mother making cambric tea for Carrie (one of her younger sisters), and how it was more milk than anything else. But served in a teacup and warm, it can make a child feel “grown up” and encourage the child’s tastes to grow as well.
Simply put a lump (or teaspoon) of sugar in a teacup, add milk to bring the level to about half in the teacup, and fill the rest with piping hot water alone or hot water and a splash of black tea. Stir and present as the treat it is, knowing that eventually, the child will likely move out of the sweet-aspect of cambric tea and desire the stronger flavour of brewed tealeaves themselves.
Whether you choose herbals or cambric tea for your children, you’re sure to create a family tradition that the child will look fondly on for years to come. Passing on our love of All Things Tea is a worthy pursuit, at least in my book.
Stop by a pay Sue a visit at her blog, A Mother’s Heart.
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