She sees you drink it every day and always asks for a sip. Or when you go to a coffee shop for breakfast he asks the waitress for a cup of coffee, just like you. Maybe you give her a taste – just a tiny taste – of your pumpkin spice latte in the fall.
Your children watch you consume hundreds of cups of coffee each year. They want to be just like you and drink it, too. But the question arises: when is it safe for children to drink coffee, and how much?
Read below for some guidelines.
Even though coffee contains a known stimulant – caffeine – no laws or even formal standards/guidelines exist in the U.S. barring children from drinking coffee. (Canada, however has a maximum daily caffeine limit for children of 45 mg, about the same amount of caffeine found in a can of cola.
No laws/regulations, of course, doesn’t mean it’s safe for your child to drink coffee, as too much caffeine can cause stomach upset, agitation (the jitters), insomnia headaches, and more – even in adults!
What’s more, caffeine can interfere with how your child’s body absorbs calcium and since adolescence is prime time for bone building, too much caffeine could have a negative impact on healthy bone growth.
While a few sips every now and then should be fine, many experts deem 12 to be the age a young person could start having more than just a sip or two of coffee.
Yet it’s just not the coffee that’s problematic when it comes to young people: so much “coffee” today is placed in 24-ounce cups laden with sugared flavors, milk, even whipped cream (caramel mochas, we’re looking at you). Frappés are extremely sugar-filled coffee drinks (some have ice cream), which can add a ton of sugar to your child’s system, regardless of how much caffeine also is included in the drink.
Once your child hits adolescence, the occasional cup of coffee (one cup in a day) should be fine. Just watch how the caffeine affects her and if you notice adverse effects, have your child cut way back. If your 12- or 13-year-old appears to handle caffeine well, you could allow one cup of coffee once or twice a week.
As for teens, once your child hits 15 or 16, daily coffee consumption should be fine. Keep a close eye on your child however; teens need at least nine hours of sleep a night and smartphone and other digital devices already are cutting into these hours significantly. If caffeine tends to keep your child up even more, have a heart-to-heart and discuss why stopping by the local café every day before school may not be a great idea.
Get your young coffee drinker started right: drink Ubean Coffee at home while your child is young and she’ll start her love affair with coffee with the “right” type of coffee: organic, premium coffee.