As a parent, you almost certainly start your day off with a cup of coffee to wake yourself up in the morning and to feel focused for the day. This is due to the caffeine content that coffee is known for, which boosts alertness, focus, and energy levels. While consuming caffeine is a well-known and generally accepted practice for adults, what many parents fail to realize is the effects caffeine has on kids.
Kids and Caffeine
Coffee is one of those types of drinks that is thought of as being reserved for “grown-ups,” but there are plenty of other drinks that contain high concentrations of caffeine. Many caffeinated beverages are also heavily marketed for all ages, including energy drinks and sodas. As a result, it is very common for kids to regularly consume high levels of caffeine. In fact, a study conducted by the Journal of Pediatrics found that an estimated 75% of children consume caffeine on a daily basis. While this may seem like a benign figure due to how accepted caffeine consumption is, there are significant ramifications to consider.
Effects of Caffeine on Kids
Moderate amounts of caffeine are known to have some positive effects, which you likely benefit from on a daily basis. However, too much caffeine will quickly undo these benefits. Excessive caffeine consumption is known to lead to increased anxiety, high blood pressure, and insomnia. The important thing to consider when it comes to your child’s caffeine consumption is that the amount of caffeine that would be considered moderate for you will be high for them. That means that those cans of soda or energy drinks they are having could be seriously affecting their anxiety and their sleep. This is especially true of kids that already are prone to anxiety and sleep issues, as too much caffeine has been shown to make these struggles worse.
The other problem with caffeinated beverages is that they also tend to be vessels for sugar, especially when it comes to sodas and energy drinks. This is also very true of coffee drinks since many kids start out drinking coffee in the form of heavily flavored drinks. The negative effects of sugar on energy levels, focus, and overall health really can’t be overstated, so it’s crucial to be aware of the beverages your kids are consuming.
Ideally, you should limit your child’s consumption of caffeine to early in the day while keeping the amount very minimal. Small amounts of caffeine can have positive effects on their mood and ability to focus, but if you notice an increase in anxiety or sleep problems, you should probably just cut it out entirely and stick to natural ways to boost focus and natural ways to address anxiety. If your kids or teenagers do find that they benefit from some caffeine, try to make sure they are sticking to healthy beverages, like low-sugar coffee drinks or low-sugar energy drinks with natural ingredients.