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Christmas is a magical time for everyone but for the children, it’s especially magical. School is out, snow is falling, and presents are unwrapped under a beautifully decorated tree with loved ones. The most important memories are developed during childhood, so it is key to make the holidays special for them. Tradition is taught early on and it sticks with children for years to come. They learn of old family traditions, like bringing out an old family heirloom to hang on the Christmas tree, baking Christmas cookies, or decorating the house, especially hanging Christmas stockings.teatssc1000021391_-00_mars-and-friends-medium-selection-box-181g

teatssc1000015115_-00_cadbury-selection-pack-medium-81g_1Now, about those stockings: they’re usually left empty right up until Christmas, when they’re filled to the brim with goodies and toys! For children, sweets are a big deal, so when shopping for their stockings this holiday season, why not try a candy tube like Maltesers, Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles, Pink Smarties, or Cadbury Buttons? They’re narrow enough to fit in the stocking and no one will ever see them! Candy tubes are popular during the holidays in the UK and nearly every confection company makes them!

Another popular candy creation in the UK are selection boxes. They range from small to large and they come with all sorts of chocolate. Milkybar and Galaxy also make variously sized selection boxes if you or your loved one fancies these more. Each box comes with a preselected mix of candy bars loved by fans. The hardest part is which one to eat first!

Now I know candy is not entirely good for children, but it’s the holidays and they only come once a year! Let them enjoy themselves before they go back to school and homework!

-CD

 

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When someone asked me to think back to when I first started drinking tea, I had to think. It was in my teen years, but I’m not sure what led me into drinking tea back then. Maybe it was my introduction to “white tea” and “green tea” that tantalized my taste buds. It took me a while to adapt to these, but I didn’t really explore tea until I got older.

tolsll_hblbbl_bingo-blueberry-herbal-loose-leaf-teaChildren in the United Kingdom are usually introduced to home-brewed tea at a young age. Cups of black tea are incorporated into everyday life and are later introduced to other types of teas like darjeeling and oolong. They learn to become little connoisseurs! American children do drink tea but not as much as their English counterparts. One thing they do have in common is the tea sets! Many children have tea sets and love to throw tea parties! They can invite friends or family to join them for tea time (I would have tea with my dolls and stuffed animals). Having tea together encourages play time, imagination, and social skills.

I live with my nine-year-old nephew and he has a budding interest in tea. When he learned I became a tea blogger and what I would be doing, he was very interested and tried a few brews with me. Now, I like to brew myself a cup of decaf tea at night to encourage sleep and my nephew will ask for a cup, which I will happily make for him. While he prefers his iced, he loves tea very much and we will drink together. Sometimes his oldeteatolp1000000819_-06_bella-coola-caffeine-free-tea-sampler-loose-herbal-teasr sister and younger brother will even join us! My nephew has even tasted PG Tips which he likes. While I have yet to teach him the winning combination of digestives and tea, he has expressed interest in not just trying teas alone but biscuits and cakes! I really enjoy teaching him about tea and English culture. I am so proud to be this young man’s aunt!

For the little tea drinker, a good fruit tea can be suitable for their young taste buds. A simply wonderful tea for children is our Bingo Blueberry. While it is good hot, it is refreshing as an iced tea. It is an herbal tea so it has no caffeine and has a strong blueberry flavor along with a dark purplish color. Another kid-approved tea is the Bella Coola, which has a citrusy pineapple flavor. The color for this one is a little bit orange-red. This one is good iced with a garnish of strawberry or pineapple. Since summer is almost here, another way to enjoy these teas is to make popsicles out of them (once they are sweetened to the child’s liking).

Warning: When brewing tea, make sure an adult is handling the hot water and enjoy under proper supervision.

Oolong Tea and others - should kids drink them or not? (stock image)

Oolong Tea and others – should kids drink them or not? (stock image)

In the Age of Communication, publishing and distributing their thoughts and ideas is always at people’s fingertips. Actually, this is really great, and the world of tea has benefited hugely from this: there are myriads of tea bloggers, creators of websites or books or e-books related to tea, content writers and “niche journalists” out there now, boosting the general knowledge about tea and very probably the popularity of tea with their publications. However, as all things in the universe, the ease of creating huge volumes of information at no or low costs and the overall accessibility of this information has its downside: things are being discussed over and over again that actually wouldn’t need any discussion at all, but only some common sense instead.

So, in tea forums and blogs, I keep coming across the much discussed question, whether tea is good for children or not, and whether it is reasonable to let them drink some or not. And I keep thinking, ‘What a question’!

It all starts with most of these discussions never even defining what they mean when saying “tea” in the first place. This inevitably becoming apparent in the course of the discussion, the same usually ends with reaching a consent that herbal tisanes might be harmless for children, while “real” tea (Camellia sinensis: green tea, Oolong tea, black tea, white tea, yellow tea, Pu Er tea) is known to contain caffeine, or theine (same thing) and is therefore not good for children, at least not to a certain age.

While a little more differentiation would definitely do good here in the first place, if the topic needs to be discussed at all, as a father of two boys (one 16, the other 8 years old now) I just cannot remember that this question has ever been seriously arising.

Tisanes are harmless? Oh, my god! Won’t this depend on what tisane we are talking about? I don’t want to be too specific about this, since I don’t know much about tisanes, but common sense tells me there are probably harmless ones, such as chamomile or peppermint “tea”, and there are others that have partially powerful medicinal properties and effects, so I would think twice before considering them as ‘harmless’ for children.

Then tea, real tea… if you are drinking tea the way it should be done, i.e. without the highly questionable habit of adding sugar or milk to it, you will never ever have to think about this, because your kids are hardly ever going to drink more than a sip of it, and this more out of curiosity but for actually liking the taste. But even if they would drink a whole cup, how much caffeine will they really take in? And in terms of being unhealthy, how will a cup of tea compare to the sweets, fast food chain meals, sugary lemonades and chemically ‘enhanced’ trend beverages they take in on a daily basis as the average kid of today (without the question how healthy or unhealthy these are being much discussed)?

I am using aroma cups to try first steeps myself, and whenever one of the kids came on and asked to try some of my tea out of curiosity, I would fill one aroma cup for them and pass it on to them with my mind being at complete peace: even bragging about how much they like it, I can’t remember any of them ever asked for a second cup. So, following common sense instead of trying to become all scientific about this seems to make a lot of sense to me, or did you ever hear of a kid dying, or even becoming sick, from an overdose of tea?

See more of  Thomas Kasper’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

In my last article on a children’s book with a tea connection – Aunt Martha’s Stories About Tea – I remarked on the relative dearth of such books. Lo and behold, not long after writing that one I happened to run across another kid’s book from yesteryear with just such a connection. The Animated Tea Service, by Richard André, is a decidedly more whimsical affair and appears to be geared toward a slightly younger age group.

"The Animated Tea" (Photo source: screen capture from site)

“The Animated Tea” (Photo source: screen capture from site)

The book was published in 1882 by André, who also wrote and/or illustrated a number of other children’s books. As the name of this particular work suggests, it’s a fanciful sort of yarn about a bunch of teaware that really does come to life. It all takes place in the household of “little Faith” and her brother Georgie. They begin by debating for a bit as to the how’s and whys of teaware, cutlery and whatnot coming to life. Of course they mention the popular case of the fabled dish that ran away with the spoon, from Hey Diddle Diddle, the old English nursery rhyme that probably predates André’s book by several centuries.

The kids then proceed to amuse themselves by making a “jolly figure” out of tea things, including sugar tongs for the legs, a sugar basin for the body, “nice white lumps of sugar for the shirt collar,” and more. It’s after they’ve gone to bed that night that things begin to get rolling. At the stroke of midnight, “the china-closet became all alive” and a cast of characters springs into action that includes Mr. Sugar-Tongs, Miss Milk-Jug and Grandpapa Teapot, just to name a few. The latter is described as “a stout but jolly Chinaman” who seems to think that he is the emperor of the china-closet (for whatever that might be worth).

As the story proceeds some of the teapots get into a squabble, with leads to a battle and there are casualties, it must be said. But Dr. Cement and Professor Rivet are on hand to help make things right again. None which is apparent to the children, who wake the next morning to find everything with the tea service just as it always was.

Of course, a short summary like this won’t quite do and much of the charm of a book like this is lost if you can’t see the whimsical illustrations. If you’d like to check out the entire package in a free ebook version, go here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Should kids drink tea? It’s a question that gets tossed around a lot and it doesn’t have a one-size fits all answer.

Before exploring this issue, some definitions are in order. Tea, strictly speaking, is a beverage made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which means that it usually contains caffeine. Herbal teas, more properly referred to as tisanes or infusions, typically do not contain caffeine.

The next point that merits looking into is what is a child, or more specifically, what age group are we referring to when we say child? Most people will tend to hold to a different standard for a fifteen-year-old child than they do for a two year old. Ultimately, the best bit of advice, as with any health-related concerns you have about your child, is to consult a doctor.

Having said that, it’s probably also safe to say that for any child older than a toddler, tea, in moderation, is not a bad thing. The UK Tea Council, not surprisingly, agrees with this notion and has put together an article devoted to children and tea drinking.

In a time when the consumption of heavily sugared and caffeinated sodas is common, tea might be the lesser of two evils. Parents who don’t think twice about giving kids caffeinated sodas might do better to introduce them to tea. Even if it’s real tea and not a tisane, the caffeine content is not much more than soda and, except with bottled teas, lacks the sugar or high fructose corn syrup that have made soda consumption a matter of controversy in recent years.

Of course, whether or not children are likely to be fond of tea is another matter entirely and may have a lot to do with what they’ve grown accustomed to. A child (or an adult, for that matter) who’s become used to heavily sweetened, flavored sodas and other beverages may be a hard sell when it comes to drinking tea.

For more thoughts on children and tea consumption take a look at this thread at the TeaChat forum. For more on caffeine and kids, look here and here and at this article, which suggests that caffeine has a greater effect on boys than girls. On the flip side of this issue is an article that suggests that caffeinated drinks can benefit health and that school aged kids “can consume up to 95mg a day of caffeine.”

Make sure to check out Tea Guy Speaks, William’s blog.

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.

Mother and Child in Tea FieldIn 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.

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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