At what age would you let your child drink tea?

There's nothing like a cuppa on a chilly autumnal day - but how old should a child really be before they start drinking tea?

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In a nutshell: Age 5 is when most people would let their child drink tea (we polled 1,427 parents). 

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There’s something super-warming, comforting and just plain nice about a cup of tea. As adults, many of us love one in the morning, or in the afternoon with a slice of cake.

It’s often something we do socially, too, and goes perfectly with a good old chinwag.

But at what age do you reckon it’s ok to let your child drink tea? We quizzed 1,400 mums on this, and their answers were really interesting.

Unlike coffee – which the majority of those we polled – 39% – said they wouldn’t let their kids have until they were over 12 (see the full rundown of results) – answers abut tea were way more evenly spread.

The most popular answer when we asked our mums this question was 5 (12%), followed by 10 (10%) then 8 (9%). But a few also said they’d let their child have tea as young as under 2 (6%).

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One of our mums, who has 2 kids, the oldest being 5, told us she lets her oldest have “little amounts watered down with extra milk – works a treat when out on a cold day!”

And, of course, we’re talking about milky tea that’s not too hot so as not to be a burn risk.

Another of our mums commented she didn’t think it was a problem as long as there’s no sugar in it.

Though another commented: “We don’t drink tea in our household. Tea contains caffeine and I don’t think a child needs excess amounts in their diet.”

At what age can a child drink tea? What the expert says

Child nutritionist Sarah Almond Bushell tells us that from the age of 4 children can safely drink 1-2 cups of unsweetened weak tea brewed from tea bags each day.

Although tea does contain caffeine, it’s in in lesser amounts and so is not as detrimental as coffee.

“Tea also contains tannins which inhibit the absorption of iron from non-meat sources. Iron is one of the critical nutrients required during childhood for growth – particularly brain growth,” she adds.

“Not getting enough iron is linked to tiredness but also more worryingly can have an impact on behaviour and intellect because it is used to transport oxygen to the developing brain.

“Therefore to prevent poor iron absorption, tea should be consumed in between meals rather than with food.”

This tag cloud shows some of the key words that came up from comments on this topic…

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Image: Getty images

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