Tea is so much more than a beverage quickly consumed. It’s a delightful aroma, a taste that tantalizes the tongue and a soothing ritual. What better way to enhance your tea drinking experience than to share it with your child?
“Sharing an experience like having a cup of tea is an amazing way to bond with your child,” said Chiara Johnson, Professor, Early Childhood Education. Preparing and sharing tea encourages parents to slow down. Have fun involving your child with the planning process, and immerse yourself in both the preparation and drinking of tea. Family rituals can be as simple as catching up at the end of the school day over a cup of tea, all the way to elaborately blending your own tea concoctions in the kitchen.
“I really enjoy the ritual of drinking tea with my son,” said Lisa Watson, Naturopathic Doctor. “I love brewing the tea together, watching it cool down, pouring it into special tea cups and just making him feel a part of my ritual of drinking tea.” Due to its caffeine content, Watson chooses to steer away from black and green tea, instead gravitating towards caffeine-free tisanes.
Choose your tisane based on the time of day. Perhaps in the morning you may choose rooibos tea to provide a vitamin C boost. In the evening, parents could offer a lemon verbena or chamomile tisane to encourage relaxation and gently end the day. For additional relaxation and a lovely taste, try choosing a blend with lavender. The gentle aroma is extremely soothing and calming.
Sharing a cup of tea with your child offers a ritual you can both look forward to.
Children, especially young children, thrive on routine, giving them a sense of structure and stability. In addition, shares Johnson, a regular daily routine helps develop secure attachment. Eye contact, smiling, and having a conversation with your child helps foster this attachment. In fact, sharing a cup of tea may not only build a bond with your child but also increase their self-esteem.
One quick way to strengthen self-esteem is to allow your child to select the tea they want to drink. According to Dr. Sears, when children share in the selection process it helps them feel important. As an added bonus, selecting a cup of tea is a hands-on experience that engages all the senses and young children learn best when all their senses are engaged. What better way to stimulate them than through a cup of tea? The aroma, taste and sight of a brilliantly hued infusion will appeal to all your child’s senses. Johnson encourages taking your child to a teashop to expand their learning. Spend time smelling, tasting and eventually choosing the tisanes together.
“Tea is such an easy way of giving your child hydration that is safe and healthy for them,” said Watson. “It’s a great ritual and children do so well when they have patterns and routines in their lives. You can really influence the day by giving them tea in the evening to help calm them down, share a conversation with them or just connect with them in another way.”
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