Wherever you are, it’s almost illegal to give coffee to your children. But then Starbucks, Coffee Bean, and other coffee shops make coffee familiar and even alluring for children.
In reality, coffee doesn’t slow the growth of children. That’s just a misconception. However, it doesn’t imply that there are no disadvantages when you allow your kids to drink coffee.
Before we discuss the negative effects of coffee on children, allow me to tackle caffeine sensitivity first. This refers to how much caffeine can produce an effect in a person. Basically, the smaller you are, the less caffeine you’ll need to intake to have side effects. That being said, children are more caffeine-sensitive than adults. They can even experience the side effects up to six hours.
A person’s sensitivity to caffeine is mostly affected by his/her day-to-day intake of caffeine. For instance, if you always drink coffee, your caffeine sensitivity will be low. That means you’ll need more caffeine to produce side effects compared to someone who doesn’t drink coffee often.
Let’s proceed to the disadvantages. If you allow your kids to drink coffee, then you should be ready to welcome the following:
Hyper kids – Caffeine is an energy booster. Sometimes, it’s a bad thing. For kids, caffeine will elevate their energy levels and will make them hyper. Caffeine is a stimulant that also makes it difficult for children to sleep and focus. Adults might love the idea of caffeine boosting energy levels, but for children whose teachers long for behave students, it’s a drawback. They might now be able to concentrate and their attentiveness will decrease.
Cavities – Did you know that coffee can weaken your teeth, decrease the production of tooth enamel, and encourage the growth of cavities? That’s because coffee is an acidic drink. And we all know that kids’ teeth attract cavities more than adults’ teeth since it takes a significant amount of time for new enamel to solidify after the loss of baby teeth and before the adult teeth grow. Therefore, allowing your kids to drink coffee is like giving them permission to have cavities.
Bone Loss – When your kids drink coffee, they’ll pee more often. And when that happens, the calcium in their body will decrease. What’s the possible result of loss of calcium? Bone loss. This drink we’re talking about is diuretic and you have nothing to blame but caffeine. Every time your kids ingests 100 mg of caffeine, they lose 6 mg of calcium. There’s a reason why they’re encouraged to drink more milk than coffee—because calcium is essential to bone growth.
Loss of Appetite – If you’re having trouble feeding your kids, you might as well forget the idea of introducing coffee to them. Kids need to eat healthy food found in the food pyramid. When you allow them to drink coffee, however, it’ll cause their appetite to drop.
Insomnia – Want your kids to get the sufficient sleep they need? Don’t let them drink coffee especially if they’re too young! Kids from 5 to 12 years old need to sleep for at least 11 hours a day. 13 to 19 year-olds, on the other hand, need nine to 10 hours of rest. For most parents, they can make this possible like magic. For some parents whose kids are just difficult to control, it might be an impossible task. Contrary to popular belief, kids who had less hours of sleep shouldn’t use coffee as energy booster. That’s because it can make them feel restless at night. The effect of caffeine in one’s body can last for up to eight hours. You also have to consider that coffee has about 5x more caffeine that soda. As much as possible, prevent your kids and teenagers from drinking coffee as energy boosters. It’ll just make them insomniac.
Wet Beds – Kids ages 5 to 7 who drink coffee will most likely wet the bed more than those who don’t. And that’s because consuming caffeine causes them to want to pee every now and them.
So, are you ready for the big reveal?
The answer to “When should kids be allowed to drink coffee?” is this:
When they reach puberty. However, they have to consume coffee moderately. Don’t let them drink every day. There is no proof that a cup of coffee will harm adolescents, but it’s best not to turn them into coffee addicts who look like zombies without consuming at least two cups a day. They can drink coffee during breakfast once or twice a week. Just remember, if you’re going to introduce them to coffee, do them a favor by not incorporating sugar and cream—these power couple is not healthy to consume.
Basically, adults are recommended to consume only 200 mg to 300 mg of caffeine a day. That means, for children, they’re only allowed half of that. But then again, don’t encourage them to drink coffee every day.