Guest contribution by: Mercedes Wadkins
I get it – you’re looking at your children and thinking, “I am sooo not adding caffeine to this hot mess.” I agree, that’s the first thing I thought when my daughter told me she wanted to stop pretending in her imaginary tea parties. To tell you the truth, I was tired of drinking air as well. So, off to “the Googles” — as my grandmother says — I went. I searched “kid’s tea,” only to find that it was non-existent. Seriously? A bazillion tea sets, tea outfits, tea tables, boas, gloves, whatever tea thingy you need – except the TEA!
Then I researched tea in general. Was all of it caffeinated? What were the effects? I only found a handful of material about kids and tea, and it was data from England…Yeah, I know – stereotype much? I went to bed that night deep in thought and decided to really dig deeper into this, including the reasoning behind why we don’t give our kids tea. I spent weeks thinking about it and then imagining a tea business centered around kids! I told myself: I am going to be the JK Rowling of tea!
I would love to tell you that the day I brought home some non-caffeinated fruit tisane (more on this later) to the first non-imaginary tea party that there were fireworks of amazement. I sat there while she took her first sip. This is it…all the research, all the shopping, all the good parenting had come to this one moment. I am the mother that went the distance! She looked at me while I waited with bated breath… “This. Is. Horrible.” I smiled and was thinking, “I know…wait, what?” There it is, the unfiltered five-year-old. Ugh, JK of tea…gone. Another “mom Rockefeller moment” in my head gone wrong; but wait, could I add honey to salvage it? Yes, Yes, a spoonful of honey! Saved the moment, saved the day, and eventually saved my business plan. (More on the sweetener part later, too.)
My name is Mercedes and I have built a business around tea and kids. I’m just like you. I am not a tea connoisseur and I just try to do what’s right for my kids. I started this journey to make my daughter happy, but it has become so much more than that. In my research I’ve discovered the benefits of tea and the shocking facts of sugar and the way that beverages I thought were healthy turned out to be damaging.
Here are five tips for sharing tea with kids.
1. There Is Non-Caffeinated Tea!
I know, when you think of tea you might not realize there are a ton of types; and a lot of them are herbal or even fruit tisanes (which are not considered “real” tea but are extremely yummy). There are so many decisions to choose from – you or your little one will never get bored!
2. You Control the Sugar
As I said, if your “mini-me” is used to juice – tea is going to be a shocker. BUT, you control it. Did you know there are 6 teaspoons of sugar in a cup of juice. Even in 100% juice!!! Something you think is healthy yet turns out to be full of sugar and is so processed that it’s lost its natural vitamins and minerals. So even if you put a spoonful of honey in the tea to sweeten it, you’re still ahead of the game. (By the way: Honey. I could write a whole other article on its benefits.)
3. Herbal Teas Have a Ton of Benefits
Did you know that peppermint is a decongestant or that dandelion stimulates digestion? Cinnamon fights viruses and chamomile promotes sleep…the list goes on and on. There are so many benefits and when they are old enough to have a little caffeine, green tea is phenomenal!
4. It’s a Bonding Experience
I adore my tea parties with my daughter. We loved our time together – dressing up and having a tea party; but now she’s a little older. Yet that bonding time has not escaped us. In fact, we have that time in the morning or when it’s cold outside and we snuggle. Surprisingly, it’s not just my daughter: I’ve involved my son, too. A nice benefit of starting all of this is that my son is able to drink plain tea because I started him out when he was young. He never needed honey or agave because I gave it to him since he was a toddler.
How easy is it to throw a teabag in your purse for later?
Bonus! A Paradigm Shift in Today’s Generation
It’s been almost seven years since that first fateful sip of tea by my daughter. It’s changed our lives and how we view so many things on the topic of tea. My daughter is now 13 and starts her morning with Earl Grey (no sugar) and instead of juice we have fruit iced tea in our fridge (also with no sugar) that my son helps himself to whenever he wants. They’re always there ready to be my R&D for my next adventure.
My journey now is to inform other parents. Tea is so much more than I ever thought it could be. I honestly love to be part of the change – not because I know a lot more now, but because I was that parent: I thought juice was healthy, I thought tea was for adults, but most importantly – I wanted more for my kids.
Mercedes Wadkins is the owner of Bellasia Tea. She believes that tea is a healthier choice and tries to promote that through her fairytale books and teas. You can read more through her website www.bellasitea.com and guest blogs.
Mercedes and Bellasia Tea are virtual vendors in the 2020 International Virtual Tea Festival. Come and meet her in her booth’s breakout Zoom Room.
Photo “Tea party table setting” is copyright to the website Canva, is used with permission under a one-time use license to Babette Donaldson, and is being posted unaltered
Photo of Mercedes and her daughter is from her website and used with permission