As adults, many of us use coffee to give us that extra jolt of energy to get our jobs done. So it’s fair to wonder whether a little java can help make our children more productive in school and at home. Another thing to consider is that coffee is becoming more and more accessible to children. It’s not hard to find kids ordering Iced Caps from Tim Horton’s and Frappucinos from Starbucks. However, many people have raised concerns about whether it is safe for kids to drink coffee. And it’s a valid question. Let’s take a look at some of the evidence and discuss what this means.
The benefits of having kids drink coffee
A researcher named Dr. Tomas Depaulis published a study saying coffee could actually give children some benefits that can be helpful in school. For example, a little java could improve concentration in children, which can aid in academic exercises such as test taking. Depaulis also pointed to a separate study in Brazil showing kids who drink coffee with milk are less likely to have depression than other children. However, one obvious caveat applies — coffee must be consumed in moderation.
When coffee can be harmful to children
Giving coffee to children can be a problem because java generally has a lot of caffeine. When children drink too much of it, a number of negative symptoms can arise. This includes jitteriness, nervousness, headaches, difficulty sleeping, trouble concentrating, dehydration and heart issues. Yes, anyone who drinks too much coffee can be susceptible to these problems, but young children appear to be more sensitive to its effects. American guidelines state adolescents shouldn’t get more than 100 milligrams of caffeine a day. Take note that an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains anywhere from 95 to 200 milligrams.
Our advice? Try these ideas first
If a boost in energy is what’s needed to get your child focused, it’s probably better to get them to go outside and exercise. Much research has shown getting a good workout is a great all-natural way to boost energy. We’ve suggested a variety of outdoor activities on our blog that stimulate both body and mind.
If your child is stuck in a rut and needs a fresh idea for an assignment, research has shown implementing a few breaks in his or her homework schedule can stimulate creativity. Finally, an inability to concentrate could simply be the result of poor organizational skills. We have some tips on how to improve on that right here.
However, if you absolutely insist on giving your child coffee, make sure you supervise them when they consume it, and moderate their intake. It’s not advisable for very young children to have java regularly. Also, it is best to consult with a physician beforehand, especially if your child has any health conditions, particularly heart or anxiety problems.