My Second Grader Drinks Coffee Daily


two cups of coffeeDespite many of us parents letting kids have soda, coffee for kids often still has a really bad stigma. It actually has some health benefits, and often has equal or even less caffeine than certain colas. That said, I actually don't let my 7-year-old have soda, except the occasional natural sugar root beer. However, he does drink coffee with breakfast every morning, and often has a small cup with his after school snack.

And the thing is, I'm not alone. Amongst my friends and moms across the country (and world), there are kids as young as 3 who are drinking some Joe along with Mommy. Why? It might not be what you think ...

Not that long ago, many, MANY kids were on Ritalin and so many kids were diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. That's the diagnosis I'm afraid my son would get if we dragged him in to a doctor and talked about behavioral concerns. He gets hyper, can't sit still or focus, bugs the crap out of people and generally can't. Stop. PICKING at everyone and everything.

Except, well, Ritalin? Not exactly a shining success story. In fact, not at all. But what it does is, well, it's a stimulant. Sounds weird for hyperactivity, right? But it increases blood flow to the brain, and helps people focus and process information more quickly. And stimulants in people with ADHD? It actually calms them down.

One hundred mg of caffeine actually accomplishes a lot of the same things as 5mg of Ritalin ... but obviously, without many of the potential risks. However, of course, too much caffeine can have a bad effect on anyone, but especially susceptible little bodies. No one is suggesting you go get your kid a venti mocha latte with extra espresso. And the Mayo Clinic says:

Some studies suggest that high doses of caffeine combined with methylphenidate [Ritalin] may be more effective in treating [ADHD] than methylphenidate alone. Like methylphenidate, caffeine is a stimulant. However, too much caffeine also can cause insomnia, nervousness, irritability and increased heart rate. Because of their smaller body size, children are even more susceptible to these effects than adults are. For these reasons, most pediatricians discourage caffeine consumption in children. Caffeine is not recommended as a treatment for ADHD in children.

So, just to be clear, we're not exactly following doctor's orders here. One study looked at four kids WITHOUT ADHD and said it wasn't beneficial. Um ... yeah. We're not talking about every kid here either. However, with limited, low-milligram amounts, monitoring our kid's reactions to the caffeine, a lot of moms, in growing numbers, are starting to see really positive results with just a little cup of Joe for our kids. Some moms use little, low milligram caffeine tablets, especially for kids who hate the taste of coffee.

I know there's still skeptics, and people who think it's irresponsible as crap, and that's okay. You don't have to like it. But at my wit's end, I was amazed when after ordering a tall latte for my kid at Starbucks (and being asked if I knew it had caffeine), my mom commented on how, "He actually sat down next to me, calmly. He hadn't done that before." That's proof enough for me that this is the right choice for my family. So maybe reign in your glares if you see my kid with a Starbuck's cup? K, thanks.

Have you ever given your kid coffee? What do you think about it being used to quell hyperactivity?


Image via chichacha/Flickr

behavior, kid health, natural parenting, alternative medicine


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MamaK... MamaKalila

Coffee no... Not yet. But I've given my oldest caffinated iced tea and it calms her down too.  I don't want her drinking soda's yet either, but... I've changed my mind a bit about coffee and little ones.

Lynette Lynette

another thing to try would be the Feingold Diet

Alisha Brignall

I have been tempted, let me tell you. But I am afraid that it wont work and he will be even MORE intense than he regularly is, and I could not handle that. Aslo, I heard coffee stunts your growth as a child....old wives tale? 

Momma... Momma2blessed

No, but I grew up drinking coffee since I was not even 2. It other cultures it's normal. Although I don't plan on giving it to my toddler like I was brought up in the Philippines, she does ask for the last drops of my Starbucks and I let her have the last drop and she loves it cause she get to share mommas drink. Lol


Hey... whatever works. My son loves coffee and I do let him have it sometimes.  I know that there are plenty of ADHD parents around here that swear by caffeine to help their kids chill out,  so there must be some truth to it.

Anast... Anastazia975

I grew up on coffee, and frankly it wasn't until aI moved to the states and my adopted family took coffee away from me, that my adhd got out of control. It is also very good for when you have a cold or having issues breathing(minor issues) the heat and caffeine help to open up the bronchioles. I don't have much faith in various diets, because well, a lot of them are hypocritical and can wind up doing more harm than good for the desperate parental unit. (who gives a kid jolly rancher soda?) But, that is my personal and professional opinion with my line of work. And not a knock on any one person. Do what works for you. Coffee is a wonderful thing when used right. Side note, Holy crud, I actually agree with something this writer posted...

momto... momtolittleg

I've always heard that a true test of ADHD is how they respond to stimulants.  All this talk about overmedicating kids who don't need it- well, if you put a "normal" kid on stimulants, it should make them hyper.  If you put an ADHD kid on stimulants, it should have the opposite effect.  So parents whose kids don't need the drugs- well, you'd think they would figure out pretty quick that it wasn't working!

I'm a teacher, and have heard of some teachers who give unmedicated kids a few Hershey's kisses in the morning (chocolate has some caffeine in it) and it helps calm them down.  I don't know if there is any truth to it, but to me it makes sense!  If caffeine helps your kid, then by all means go for it!

nonmember avatar Monica

I'm 38yo and I've been drinking coffee everyday since I was 8yo. at first, it was more like "stained" milk, and progressively got to be more coffee. it has never affected me negatively and for us as a family was a social thing.
I have two kids myself, one 7yo and one 4yo. they have been drinking sips of coffee out of my cup since they were 7-8mos old in the sling reaching out for my cups. now they both get their own latte when we go out in town to coffee shops (we live in Naples, Italy). while they don't drink coffee every day yet, they do enjoy the flavor of it, and we see absolutely nothing wrong with them drinking coffee. not only is it natural and has milk in it, but it's sugarless as well, which we can't say of sodas.

nonmember avatar Cynthia

I have found that it not only can help with ADHD, but it helps asthma for us as well. Same concept, it's a stimulant. I'm not saying to give your kids a pot of coffee every day, but we have seen improvement in behavior with a small regular cup!

Jaimie Leader-Goodale

I had friends who's daughter wouldn't drink the coffee, and they gave her Jolt gum instead. ;) eventually though she ended up on adderal just like her mom. :(

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