Should You Let Your Child Drink Coffee?

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It starts innocently enough—a sip of your Frappuccino while chilling at the coffee shop, a healthy gulp of your morning coffee during breakfast. Before you know it, your child is begging to have a sip of coffee every day, and while it may seem cute at first, you also wonder whether it’s right to have your kid drink coffee at such an early age and how caffeine can affect your child’s health. According to a study, approximately 73% of American children ages 2 to 22 consume caffeine on any given day. Moreover, the proportion of caffeine coming from coffee increased from 10% to 24% over the recent years. Coffee is one of the things that adults can enjoy without feeling any guilt as it has been found to be one of the healthiest beverages in the world. But should children be allowed to drink coffee?

 

Benefits of drinking coffee

Whether you’re partial to a specific offering from your favorite coffee shop or prefer your own coffee brewed in a drip coffee maker, there is no doubt that it is one of the world’s most beloved beverages as millions of people around the world enjoy the rich taste of coffee. Apart from its distinctive taste, the brew is also good for you as it has loads of potential health benefits. Studies have shown that it can help you burn fat, protect you against liver disease and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Moreover, it may even protect you from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Drinking coffee can also improve your mood and boost happiness. To get the full benefits of coffee, adults should consume one to two cups per day. However, should children be allowed to consume the beverage as well?

 

How coffee affects your child’s health and behavior

All types of coffee contain a significant amount of caffeine. Caffeine can help your child stay awake, which may be useful when tackling a mountain of homework as it leads to enhanced alertness, more energy, and an increased ability to focus. However, it can make falling asleep more difficult for your child. Sleep deprivation can negatively affect your child as it can lead to hyperactivity, difficulty concentrating, and even defiant behavior. Moreover, not having enough sleep can even lead to depression. Back in 2008, a study of 30 children who had been diagnosed with depression found that the participants consumed about five servings of caffeine a day. It was also found that caffeine intake may trigger anxiety among youth with depression.

 

How to avoid a meltdown over coffee

Now that you know how coffee can affect your child’s health, you’re probably thinking about saying no to your child’s request to have a sip of your cappuccino. But how do you deal with a meltdown at the coffee shop once your child hears the dreaded “no?” For teenagers, you can limit their caffeine consumption and let them know that they can have coffee, but in moderation. If you let your teenage child have coffee every now and then, it becomes less precious and they’re less likely to gulp endless cups of coffee when you’re not around. For younger children, you can let them have caffeine-free alternatives like fruit smoothies or a chocolate milkshake. You can also let them see you enjoying a caffeine-free beverage so they’ll be encouraged to drink something else other than coffee.

Coffee can be great for adults who need a little pick-me-up during a busy day, but for children, it’s best for them to wait until they’re grown to indulge in this drink. Until then, take out your blender and make healthy smoothies that you and your child can enjoy.