It’s no secret that Australians enjoy a cup of tea or coffee for comfort and routine. With a competitive caffeine community, households across the country look forward to the tradition of putting on the kettle.
The wave of tea enthusiasm has been a part of the threads of Australian history. From 1788 and the first British settlement, local Aussie brews, plus a variety of Chinese green tea, including Hyson, Oolong, Pekoe, Twankay, and Souchong tea varieties, were readily available.
Until the late 19th century, green tea was a payment for convicts until the transportation of inmates into Australia halted. Going forward, the population focused on other imported ethnic tea and spices to distance themselves from this dark part of its historical origins.
It was the moment for chai to shine. Black tea became popular for its fragrance and spicy alternative to basic milk tea. As families continue to bond over beverages, what is the right age to introduce tea to children?
What Age Can Kids Drink Tea According To Mum
Ongoing studies continue to poll parents and get to the bottom of societal acceptance. Many mums don’t see the problem in giving a youngster a warm cup of milky tea, especially on a cold or rainy afternoon.
Chai is a black tea and does contain caffeine but is easier to regulate due to its loose-leaf nature than a standard black tea bag. In a survey conducted by MadeForMums, many parents agree the right age for a cup of tea is 12, but there is a steamy grey area of contemplation.
While 12 is the voting average, many families agree that a small milky cup of tea is a treat for children as young as 5 or 8.
Children And Chai
Before letting their children in on one of Australia’s oldest traditions and rites of passage, parents need to know these medical facts.
While dieticians and paediatricians agree that herbal tea for children over 2 years old is entirely acceptable, at what age children can start drinking tea is highly debated.
The main deterrent is the impact of caffeine. Adults receive daily benefits from small doses when taken in moderation, but caffeine can reverse affect children’s growth and digestion.
The most significant risk for parents to keep in mind is dehydration. Since chai falls under the black tea classification and, on average, contains 11 mg of caffeine per cup, it becomes a diuretic. Ingesting too much can lead to your child’s body becoming dehydrated and losing water faster with increased toilet visits.
While parents can feel safe administering cups of herbal tea or extremely milky-based beverages, doctors recommend waiting until 12 years old.
Is Tea Safe For A Toddler?
Before brewing a hot beverage for an infant or a toddler, parents need to consider one crucial unknown: allergies!
While infants’ and toddlers’ immune systems are low, it is unclear what your child will be allergic to until digested. Herbal or caffeinated teas bring an assortment of potential allergy triggers.
Caffeine allergies, tannins, nuts, milk, fish, shellfish, eggs, and some fruits can surprisingly trigger children into anaphylaxis shock.
Signs of an allergic reaction to tea can include:
- tingling or itching sensation in the mouth
- swelling of the lips, throat, tongue, or face
Children may not have an intense allergic reaction but may display signs of sensitivity to caffeine or tea. Signs of sensitivity include:
- nausea and vomiting
- stomach cramps or pain
- feelings of irritability
If you give your child a cup of tea, the most important thing to do is listen and watch for any symptoms. A toddler or child will need parental advocacy if they experience sudden on-set allergic or sensitive reactions.
Fun And Safe Tea Time Recipes
We’ve collected the best tea for toddler recipes ranging from decaffeinated apple tea to iced strawberry tea, perfect for weekend afternoons!
An Apple Delight Fall Tea
- 3 cups apple juice
- 6 decaffeinated black tea bags
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 apple cut into wedges for garnish
- 1 tablespoon of cloves
- In a saucepan, bring apple juice to a simmer.
- Once boiling, remove juice from heat and add tea bags. Cover and allow to brew for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and carefully squeeze out the remaining tea before discarding.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients.
- Your Apple Delight is ready to enjoy and can be served hot or over ice.
Kid-Friendly Chai Cuddle In A Cup
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup milk or dairy alternative
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan on medium-low heat.
- Whisk ingredients constantly until heated through, and enjoy
Iced Strawberry Sunshine Tea
- 6 cups water
- 5 strawberry, raspberry, pomegranate, or other fruity tea bags
- 1 cup apple juice
- 4 to 8 strawberries
- 1/4 cup honey
- fresh mint (optional)
- ice cubes
- Pour the water into a large 2 quart pitcher or jar (it should be about 3/4 of the way full). Drop your tea bags into the water. Close the top.
- Place the pitcher in the sun for at least 6 to 8 hours. The sun will heat the water and steep your tea. When it’s steeped, remove the tea bags from the pitcher.
- Next, rinse 4 to 8 strawberries and set them on a cutting board. Slice them up with a picnic or paring knife.
- Pour the apple juice into a measuring cup. Add the sliced strawberries. Stir in the honey, then pour the mixture into the pitcher of iced tea. Add a sprig of mint if you’d like. Store for up to 5 days in the fridge.
- When it’s tea time, drop an ice cube into a teacup. Set a small filter on the cup rim, then pour in the Strawberry Sun Tea. Garnish with a strawberry and a mint leaf.
Final Verdict: Is It Safe For Kids To Drink Tea
The short answer is yes, but with careful consideration of the type of beverage and age.
1-5 years old: herbal teas or diluted with milk black tea
8-12 years old: the popular agreed-on age for daily black tea beverages with added milk
12 years old+: With careful monitoring, children can consume 1-2 milk-based tea beverages daily.
Every child is different, and Monks Tea recommends consulting with your family doctor for the most accurate diagnosis.
See more: Australia chai