Whenever you need a quick energy boost, a hot cup of coffee will do the trick. While most adults enjoy drinking a cup or two of coffee every day, it also prompts a question — when can kids, aged 12 and below, start drinking coffee?
Drinking coffee can give you health benefits, such as lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and protection against liver cirrhosis. If you’re amazed by the benefits of coffee to your health, try visiting Home Grounds for more coffee-related information.
However, the question still remains, is it safe for your young ones?
Why Do Kids Suddenly Want Coffee?
Sometimes, it makes sense that teenagers consume coffee to get up early or stay up late to study for exams. But, nowadays, why do young kids suddenly want to drink coffee?
If your kid had been rushing you with the question of whether he or she is old enough to drink coffee, it might be because of the booming trend of coffee. This trend includes:
- Coffee being added in sweet drinks, such as caramel macchiato floats, cotton candy coffee, and pumpkin spice frappuccino.
- The prominence of coffee shops and cafes.
- The abundance of social media influence.
Does It Stunt Your Child’s Growth?
There’s a common claim that allowing your children to drink coffee can stunt their growth, as it’s claimed that the beverage affects the children’s calcium absorption. However, the truth is, coffee does not have that effect on kids.
For example, In Scandinavian countries, children start to drink coffee at a rather young age compared to the United States. However, when you compare the average heights in both countries, the growth stunt claim may seem not to correlate at all.
In Sweden, the average height of adult males is 5’10,” and adult females average at 5’6”. While in the United States where it’s commonly claimed, the average height of males is 5’9” and adult females average at 5’3”.
What Are Its Effects?
Although coffee doesn’t really affect a child’s growth, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s without effects. Most people drink coffee because of its caffeine content — a natural stimulant that blocks adenosine receptors in your brain.
Adenosine is a chemical created in the brain that binds to the adenosine receptors. This binding slows down the body’s nerve cell activity and causes drowsiness. However, when you drink coffee, caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors instead of adenosine. As a result, your nerve cell no longer identifies adenosine, as caffeine already took up all the receptors.
However, for a child that’s already awake and active, this can lead to caffeine-induced hyperactivity or insomnia. Children that drink too much coffee can also develop irritability, anxiety, nausea, muscle tremors, irregular heartbeat, and increased nervousness. In general, excessive caffeine intake can make a child jumpier or prone to tantrums.
Thus, it’s essential to know how much caffeine is enough for your child. However, there are no studies that talk about caffeine intake in children. Instead, most of these studies focus on adult caffeine consumption.
he recommended caffeine consumption for adults is about 200 to 300 mg (milligrams) per day. For example, the average-sized coffee cup can hold about 8 ounces of fluid and can contain around 95mg of caffeine. It’s also essential to know that espresso will have more caffeine content at 64mg of caffeine per ounce than a regular cup of coffee.
When Should They Start?
Now that you know a thing or two about coffee and caffeine’s effect on children, you might be wondering when should you allow your kids to start drinking coffee. However, there really is no perfect time to allow your children.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to wait until your kid is about 12 years old. The only important thing to do is to watch your child’s coffee consumption. Remember, there’s a significant difference between allowing sweet treats and a daily cup of coffee.
Additionally, you should also be aware that caffeine is an addictive substance. If your child becomes caffeine dependent, you should notice withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours, such as headaches or sluggishness. However, it’s essential to note that the addiction is caused by caffeine, which is a substance not only found in coffee but also sodas and energy drinks.
When it comes to coffee consumption, moderation is the key. Keep in mind that coffee isn’t the only source of caffeine in your child’s diet. Also, always make sure that he or she is not having too much of any.
In addition, you should also avoid giving your child any beverage with too much sugar and caffeine less than 5 hours before bedtime. Keep your kids happy and healthy by teaching them how to be responsible coffee drinkers.