Caffeine and Kids

Quotes from focus groups with Lexington parents of tween

“When children drink caffeine they become like the devil!”

“Why in the world would I want to make my children more hyperactive than they already are?”

“When my kids ask for caffeine late in the day, I say ‘No’, because I don’t want to be pulling them off the walls at bedtime.

“My ten-year old is constantly asking for sweet tea, and I say ‘no’.

Many parents find that caffeine and kids don’t mix well. Kids are particularly sensitive to caffeine. Too much caffeine can cause children to experience anxiety, upset stomach, difficulty concentrating, insomnia and an increased heart rate. Most parents in our focus groups considered caffeinated drinks to be “adult drinks” and limited how many their kids could have.

Thought the U.S. hasn’t developed guidelines for caffeine levels for children, the Canadian government has set 45 mg of caffeine (about the amount in a can of cola) as a reasonable limit for children.

If your children are getting a lot of caffeine, help them cut back gradually. (Link to Cutting Caffeine). If they go “cold turkey” they may get headaches and be cranky. Cut back one caffeinated beverage a week until they get to a level you’re comfortable with. If they get a headache during the transition you can use a child’s pain reliever for a few days until their system gets back to normal. It’s best for them to run on their own natural energy that comes from healthy food, sleep, exercise and youth!