In life, you meet 2 kinds of people. There are the tea-lovers, who praise the drink as if it’s the best thing since drinkable water. Then there are those who gag at the mere smell of tea.
Of course, we are exaggerating. But whether you love it or hate it, tea is undeniably popular with a wide range of people. From England to China, you’ll see folks sipping a cup of tea for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner.
Like coffee, tea is a drink that can be served both hot or cold. It’s also a good companion to a big meal or a mini snack. And for older generations, tea is used medicinally as well.
Tea is perfect whether you have the sniffles or not. But is the drink for everybody? More specifically, is the drink for your curious little toddler?
The Diverse World of Tea
Tea is a drink that comes in many shades and flavors. Because of tea’s rich history, many cultures have invented ways to prepare and drink tea. From hot tea to milk tea, the beverage we know today has evolved throughout many centuries.
To keep things simple, let’s talk about some common tea. You might have seen these in your grocery stores or restaurants. We’ll focus on black tea, green tea, and herbal tea.
Black tea is the strongest of the bunch, having the most caffeine among other types of tea. Some people like the punch and flavor that black tea brings. Popular black tea variants include Earl Grey tea and Assam tea.
Green tea is another popular tea choice for tea enthusiasts. It has a more refreshing flavor and less caffeine content than black tea. The most well-known green tea variant that people know and love is matcha tea.
Lastly, we have herbal tea, which is a kind of tea that is not extracted from leaves. Rather, they come from herbs, flowers, and fruits, making them caffeine-free. Hibiscus, chamomile, and peppermint are some beloved variants.
Of course, there are plenty more teas that we can discuss. But for now, these are some popular options that you can find on store shelves.
Can Toddlers Drink Tea?
Now you know your tea, let’s now answer that burning question: is tea safe for toddlers?
The answer really depends on what type of tea you give them. For children above the age of 2, they can enjoy a few selections of tea. In fact, tea is arguably a healthier choice than other sugary drinks like juice.
But while some teas are safe for your toddler, others are better off reserved until they’re a lot older. So which tea should you give to your young kid?
Picking the Right Tea for Your Toddler
There are some things to consider when picking out your toddler’s beverage. Not all tea is safe for the consumption of a very young child. So researching your tea is key for a happy and healthy toddler.
What’s Safe to Give?
Generally speaking, the safest tea that you can offer is herbal tea. That’s because herbal tea does not have caffeine, unlike other teas. Herbal tea also has a sweeter and milder flavor that your child can enjoy.
Herbal tea is also used as a remedy for colds, allergies, and motion sickness. Teas that are safe for your child include ginger, lemongrass, mint, chamomile, and fruit teas. You can either buy these teas at the store or make them homemade.
What’s Best to Avoid?
Among the 3 different teas we’ve talked about, black and green tea are the worst options for toddlers. Not only do they have caffeine, but they are also rich in fluoride. Black tea, in particular, also has polyphenol, something young kids shouldn’t have too much of.
Other teas like echinacea, comfrey, St John’s wort, and senna should also be avoided by toddlers. These teas can cause various problems in young children and are best reserved for adults.
Overall, stick to herbal and non-caffeinated teas and infusions for your toddler. They are the safest choice that you can give them while they are still young. Children should only have caffeinated tea when they are 12 years and older.
How Do I Introduce Tea to My Toddler?
If you are a tea lover, you will want your kid to try it out as well. There are ways you can introduce the refreshing taste of tea to them. The most effective way is by slowly including it into their diet.
The most exciting way to do it is to throw a tea party. No child can resist the invite to a tea party! You can prepare small biscuits and cakes as well together with your tea. It’s also a good opportunity to teach them some table manners.
Another way is by giving it to them as a treat. You can prepare your tea in more ways than just hot. Kids will absolutely love ice tea or milk tea. (Don’t forget the boba!)
Finally, you can do it the easy and simple way by serving it with their meal. It might take time for them to get used to the taste of tea. But you can make it more delicious by mixing milk and honey in their tea.
Not everybody will enjoy the taste of hot tea, especially children. And that’s okay! There are many other drinks your toddler can try and love. And who knows, maybe they will want tea again in the future.
Tea is a refreshing drink that a lot of people indulge. With so much variety, there is bound to be something that you can enjoy. You can either have strong-tasting black tea or mild and fruity-tasting herbal tea.
Your toddler can also enjoy tea. Granted, it must be caffeine-free and safe for their body.
For toddlers, herbal tea and infusions are the best choices. Not only are they safe and lack caffeine, but the taste is mild enough for a toddler’s palate.
Tea-loving parents can rejoice knowing that their toddler can share their love for tea. Your toddler can safely drink both hot and cold tea with you any time of the day. And yes, they can have it even if they’re not sick.