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Should we be worried about what kids are doing in cafes?

 Babyccinos are so yesterday. These days, kids are hitting the hard stuff.

Apparently young children are loving lattes at cafes across the country. Not satisfied with ‘babycinos’ with a marshmallow on the side any longer, older children – who are desperate to grow up quickly and who have probably been influenced by their parents’ moans of pleasure as they take their first sip – are now asking for a caffeine hit of their own.

Sydney cafe owner Caleb Maynard told the Daily Telegraph, “[Kids] start with a chai latte, to have a hot drink like mum, and it progresses from there. They often have a decaf.”

At first I was shocked, for two reasons:

1. How did I miss this trend? I am a coffee-a-holic and avid cafe go-er but my children have graduated to hot chocolates and milk shakes, not coffee.

2. Kids like coffee? Whenever mine take a sip out of curiosity, they cough and splutter dramatically, saying it tastes ‘disgusting’.

Manny from the TV show Modern Family has been advertising Aurora coffee, which is sure to influence some children to try it. But his character on the show has always been a quirky old-soul, so as far as I was concerned, the appearance of Rico Rodriguez in coffee ads is meant to be tongue-in-cheek.

Is it so bad that kids are drinking coffee? Hot chocolates and milkshakes aren’t any better are they? They are full of sugar.

We asked nutritionist Susie Burrell for her thoughts on the subject, and she said:

The biggest issue with children drinking coffee is that regular coffee such as a latte contains as much as 100mg of caffeine. With 300mg as a recommended upper intake for adults, 100mg of caffeine is not appropriate for children. Side effects of racing heart rate, inability to concentrate and for parents, inability to sleep are real issues that need to be taken seriously.

Yes plain coffee (minus the sugar) will contain less sugar and more calcium than hot chocolate BUT should not be considered a good option. If parents are giving children coffee instead of hot chocolate for the anti-inflammatory health benefits, without a doubt it should be decaf as our children are over-sugared and overstimulated enough.

It sounds as though an occasional decaf latte with no sugar is okay for kids, but what child is going to want to drink it without sugar? I can barely manage that myself.

I think I’ll be sticking to hot chocolates and milkshakes, occasionally. And cover my kids’ eyes whenever we see Manny’s Aurora ad on the back of a bus.

Visit Susie Burrell’s website for more information on child nutrition.

Do you let your children drink coffee? Would you let them drink it after reading this?

Need a bit of inspiration for healthy snacks for you kids after school? Here are 10 after school snacks your children can prepare themselves:

Like this? Then try:

You want healthy kids? Tell their teachers they won’t be doing their homework.

The children who eat themselves to death.