Kids and coffee: Part 2

Picking up where we left off (here’s a refresher), coffee consumption by young children apparently varies by culture. I suppose it should be utterly unsurprising that Brazilians are by and large pro-“kids and coffee,” given that Brazil is the world’s #1 coffee producer and may soon be the #1 consumer as well (if they’re not already). 

How “pro” do I mean? Well, it’s hardly a representative sample of Brazilians, but here’s one in particular who can attest to the generally high level of acceptance in the land of Samba. Be sure to check out the vintage YouTube videos the author links to in her post. The cartoon is my favorite, though watching kids cavort among the coffee cherries is amusing, too. And who doesn’t like listening to Brazilian Portuguese?

If you’re feeling Brazilian in terms of your attitudes toward babyccinos but prefer a French twist, take a look at this French café playset (also pictured below), complete with chalkboard menu and Fifi the poodle (ack). I’m thinking I might buy one and set it up across from the local Starbucks (not really), which happens to be right next to a middle school (really). Too bad my Gaggia Classic isn’t quite designed for a commercial setting; if it were, I could probably install it inside and give the Mermaid a run for her money (right).

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Back to more "medical" matters concerning kids and caffeine, what’s this about a mother who swears by dosing her 7-year-old (who she suspects of having ADHD) with 4 oz. of coffee twice a day? Given that we’re talking about an American mother interviewed by American journalists, of course the alarm bells start ringing with doctors weighing in and advising caution, etc. Can you imagine such a thing causing a stir on Mommy blogs and throughout the Twitterverse in Brazil? Doubtful.

Anyway, if and when my son (currently 3.5 years old) finally asks for a sip of coffee, what will I do? My wife and I pay a fair amount of attention to what he takes in. That said, personally I worry much more about the possible ill effects of sugary, processed junk than I do about small amounts of caffeine (in, say, chocolate), so I’d be inclined to let him have a sip. In all likelihood he’d say “yuck,” and then he’d move on, his curiosity satisfied. Now if he *liked* it…well, let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. In the meantime, I agree with the gist of this blogger’s take on the big picture. Emphasizing the taste-related and social aspects of coffee in front of our kids (while demystifying the beverage in the process) seems healthier to me than highlighting the ability of coffee to change behavior chemically—and much more likely to encourage kids to indulge responsibly if they choose to down the road.

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