Did you know that you could have a real tea party with your little ones? Children as young as a year old can appreciate a good cuppa—with treats of course! A tea party is an enjoyable bonding experience to have with your children, and provides a great opportunity for children to learn lots of skills, like handling a warm beverage and table manners. You’ll be surprised how quickly your child will pick it up!
The key is selecting the proper tea. Any tea with caffeine is not recommended. Caffeine is a stimulant, which can affect a child’s sleep patterns, increase anxiety, and generally drive them up a wall. Fortunately, there are many teas that don’t have caffeine.
Technically speaking, tea is from the camellia sinensis plant, which is naturally caffeinated. What we recommend is something called an herbal tisane, or an herbal tea. There are many kid-safe herbal teas.
A quick note, we recommend serving tea without sugar. If your child has never had sugar with their tea, they won’t expect it, and they will be happy enough just playing grown up. Milk is optional, and not a necessity. Rooibos teas may benefit from a splash of milk. Certain fruit tisanes may actually curdle milk due to the acidic content, so please test first.
We also recommend certified organic blends. Due to the nature of tea production, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers can become concentrated in teas. When your tea is certified organic, it ensures that it is free from these chemical contaminates.
- Organic Rooibos/Honeybush: is an African red bush plant that brews a rich, deep colored tea with a robust, naturally sweet flavor that kids enjoy. It looks a lot like tea when brewed, but is naturally caffeine free, and is safe for infants and toddlers. Rooibos is rich in antioxidants and certain trace minerals.
- Organic Fruit Tisanes: Our fruit tisanes contain actual fruit pieces, and provide a naturally sweet flavor kids enjoy. There are many flavors to explore, such as Organic Raspberry Apple, Organic Cranberry Raspberry, and Organic Cherry Hibiscus.
How To Serve Tea
When serving, we recommend a few important tips. First, this is a supervised activity. After all, you are brewing piping hot tea! Your child should not have access to extremely hot tea at any time! That means your teapot should be well out of reach unless it has cooled down sufficiently.
In the beginning, your child will need a lot of help, there are so many skills to master. If possible, have your child stay at the table. This means an age appropriate table and possibly chair. Help your child with proper handling of their tea mug. Expect spills, be ready with a hand towel and plenty of patience. And yes, that means spilt tea on clothing! Be patient and calm, it’s all about building a positive experience.
It’s also a great time to put the phone away and turn off the TV. Let your tea time be a distraction-free time. Keep your electronics in a separate room with the sound off if temptation is too great.
We recommend not breaking out the fine china for this activity. Especially for toddlers, because, well, they’re toddlers. We have found that Japanese style ceramic tea tumblers work very well, and are just durable enough for the purpose. Small tumblers allow for easy handling, and the small vessel allows tea to cool faster. The ones without handles reduce complications.
Older children may be able to handle more traditional tea cups (again, not the fine china), however, children should always be supervised and instructed, especially in the beginning.
Tea should be served warm, not hot of course. Always test tea before serving. To cool down tea quickly, try keeping an empty teapot or any non-plastic vessel with a spout at hand. Instead of serving brewed tea directly in your child’s cup, pour a serving size in the empty teapot and swirl. The vessel will absorb the heat of the serving. Then transfer to your child’s mug and test to make sure it is a good temperature.
If you have a play tea set, please check with the manufacturer to ensure it is food safe and also durable enough for actual use. Play tea sets are not always intended for actual use.
Feel free to serve snacks with tea. This could be a simple as cut up fruit, or a special treat, such as a scone with cream and preserves, a cookie, and other hand-sized dainties. For a traditional afternoon tea experience add tea sandwiches.
Just in case you are wondering, you can make any sandwich a tea sandwich really, just remove the crust and cut it into triangles, as long as it holds well together, you have yourself a tea sandwich! Optionally, you can use a sandwich cutter for all sorts of fun shapes, or experiment with a cookie cutter.