Caffeinated Tea Party: How Bad?

Filed under: Nutrition: Health, Expert Advice: Big Kids, Activities: Big Kids, Nutrition: Big Kids, Health & Safety: Big Kids, Expert Advice: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Activities: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Health & Safety: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Nutrition: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Opinions, Birthdays, Mealtime, Activities: Family Time

Tea Party

Using caffeinated tea at your children's tea parties is just fine. Credit: Rick Takagi, Flickr

What 5-year-old doesn't love a tea party? But there is caffeine in tea ... which seems like an iffy idea for little ones. No?

Hmmm, well ... is a little spot of tea for children bad, and if so, how bad? To find out, I phoned Mommy Advisor Christine Palumbo, a nutritionist in private practice in a Chicago suburb, who's an adjunct faculty member at Benedictine University.

"Weak [caffeinated] tea is fine," said Palumbo, "Or, if a mother is concerned about caffeine she can always purchase decaffeinated tea." Palumbo had other ideas to get the nutritional nod of approval.
Try different teas.
Harney & Sons Peach comes in a fabulous pink tin. (Admittedly there may be other, more discerning ways to choose tea.) And of course, Palumbo said, if your child shows signs of being overstimulated or can't fall asleep on a day that she's had caffeinated tea, switch to a relaxing herbal tea for the next tea party. Chamomile, in particular, is a known sleep-inducer.

Don't get burned. No need to make the water piping hot. "Remember a lot of the tea-party fun is about having your own little tea ceremony," said Palumbo. It's not about having tea exactly the way grown-ups do.

Keep sugar low. "For a five-ounce cup of tea, a half-teaspoon of sugar or honey should do it -- and if you add a little bit of milk you're getting a calcium boost," added Palumbo. If you serve desserts with tea, consider making them small, such as mini-cookies.

Make tea sandwiches. Cut the crusts off and make little triangle sandwiches with cucumbers or peanut butter.

Don't forget the frilly toothpicks.

Have you had a parenting moment that's left you wondering, "How bad"? Send it to Sabrina at She'll try to answer as many as she can.

Sabrina Weill is the founder of the pink, princess-y gift site: PrincessLovesPink. Many of the Mommy Advisors in this column are the writer's personal or professional friends.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.