Honoring the Power and Pleasure of Tea with Your Family

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I look forward to hearing and seeing how your backyard campouts turned out, and we’ll plan to discuss that tomorrow.  While summer invites us outside to explore and play, it is also sometimes a season of extreme weather.  I know some of you are enduring many days of rain, while others (like my family) are finding it necessary to take shelter from sweltering heat in the afternoons.

When a long summer day offers the chance to slow down together as family, why not accept the invitation with a nice cup of tea?  I’ve asked my friend and passionate tea aficionado Trisha to share some ways tea can minister to your family – in the summer and all year-long:

teaAs a parent, you’re undoubtedly always looking for opportunities to foster your child’s physical, emotional, intellectual, and social health. As a parent striving for simplicity in your home, discovering something that can cultivate all those areas (without adding strain to the pocketbook) is simply thrilling. Hold on to your many hats, because have I got a gem for you. You might not realize it, but you likely have this amazing treasure in your house right now; perhaps you just haven’t considered sharing it with your children yet. This impressive tool has the power to heal, educate, and build character if you simply introduce it to your kids’ world. Got tea? It does a family good.

Tea is a multi-tasking wonder for the parent who would like to prevent and treat life’s little ailments naturally. Drinking tea provides your children’s little bodies the same benefits it does your grown-up one. The vitamins and minerals in tea build strong blood vessels, aid digestion, and are essential for the development of strong teeth and bones. Consuming tea will also boost your young’uns immune system, so they don’t bring home every cough and sniffle. Regular tea drinking can alleviate symptoms of allergies, hay fever, and asthma. If tooth brushing is a struggle, you’ll be glad to know tea inhibits the growth of bacteria in the mouth associated with plaque formation, is an excellent source of fluoride, and can even be used as a mouth rinse to prevent tooth decay.

When minor maladies arise, tea can be your go-to “medicine.” Offer kids a warm cup of tea with a bit of honey for complaints of sore throats, stuffy noses, or upset tummies. Ginger and chamomile teas are wonderfully soothing, peppermint tea helps clear congestion, and red tea has antispasmodic properties that help relieve stomach cramps and even pacify colicky babies (I’ve known mothers to mix a little in with mama milk when needed.) Its soothing effect applies to external use as well. Apply a cool tea compress to diaper rash, eczema, or other skin irritations for relief. As a bonus, most teas do double duty: chamomile also aids sleep, peppermint also supports digestion, and red tea also stabilizes blood sugar. A little research will reveal a host of applications for each tea, allowing you get the most bang for your brew.

Tea also holds a wealth of educational opportunities, because its story involves much history and culture. Stimulate young minds with intellectual conversations about the social, political, and economical impact of tea around the world, or broaden their global perspective by learning about the various traditions and customs associated with drinking tea in different countries. All of this information has been neatly packaged in books geared for both youth and adults, and is also accessible via our beloved internet.  Incorporate it into hands-on activities, trivia games, or storytelling to appeal to kids and teens.

“Taking tea” together presents an excellent opportunity to engage in meaningful quality time and foster your precious relationship with your children. Tea parties can be a wonderful tradition in your home, creating lasting memories. Make it an anticipated event by including the kids in preparation. Set each place with a special cups and saucers from a thrift shop, toy store, or leftover party paperware. Bake a sweet recipe that includes tea in the ingredients, like these scrumptious Chamomile Lemon Squares from TeaChef.com. Pour your children’s favorite tea, and begin your party with a festive chorus of “I’m a little teapot”. While sipping, read from a storybook about tea, like Lady Ginny’s Tea Parties by Susan Rennick Jolliffe (perfect for a girly party) or Come to Tea on Planet Zum-Zee by Tony Mitton  (a playful story that will delight boys and girls). Tea parties also provide an occasion for your child to develop social skills and build important character qualities like hospitality and manners, especially when you invite friends and extended family.  A good resource to help you incorporate these aspects into your teatime is Children’s Tea and Etiquette: Brewing Good Manners in Young Minds by Dorothea Johnson.

Tea offers a simple way to enrich your family’s life in these areas and more. Smile, you’ve just hit the jackpot.

(A quick reminder:  always take care to let the tea cool significantly before offering it to a young child. Also, be sure that any boiling hot mugs or kettles are far from the reach of tiny hands eager for their favorite “medicine.”  For young children, I recommend sticking with herbal tisanes and decaffeinated teas. Herbals also contain low levels of tannin – the ingredient in black or green tea that inhibits absorption of iron – especially needed during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and early childhood development.)

Trisha is a wife, daughter, and sister who anticipates the day when she can add “mom” to her title. She is passionate about relationships, health, discovery, and natural living, and enthusiastically pursues a slew of hobbies including gardening, cooking, dancing, language, literature, and blogging about this mishmash of interests at ~~myOLIO~~.

(photo courtesy of siukankay)


[really_simple_share]
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Comments

  1. As soon as this appeared in my inbox, I knew I had to comment. What a lovely post and I wholeheartedly support the idea! When my daughter was younger, we were in a serious car accident just a few days before she began at a new and quite demanding school. I was too injured to work or do much of anything for that matter. My daughter’s world was turned upside down. I began looking for the positives out of the situation and one was definitely being there for her each day when she arrived home from school. I began to set up “tea time” for us each day with a pot of tea (or sometimes lemonade or iced tea on hot days but still served from a teapot) and some healthy but special snacks. We would sit at the dining room table, sharing our goodies and discussing her day. The conversation flowed naturally and there were none of those “pulling teeth” moments to get her to say more than the word “nothing” when asked about her day at school. In addition, it gave my poor starving girl a little sustenance to tide her over until dinnertime. As we would finish up our snacks, homework time would begin. We would sit together and go over her assignments for the day. I would get her started on it and help where needed and by the time I had to step away for a few minutes to get dinner started, she was on a roll. This method always worked better than anything we tried in terms of getting her homework done. Even once I began cooking because she was right there at the kitchen table already, I still wasn’t far away if she needed more assistance. Some days I had some special activities planned for her (the ones that might take more time were tucked away as a surprise only to be brought out once I determined her homework load). You have inspired me to discuss this further on my own blog (newly started) and I will be linking to you here. I also participate in an online writing community and we have a collaborative Red Apple Tearoom blog where we share recipes and ideas appropriate to the topics of tea, tea cakes and sandwiches etc. as well as apples. Once I have linked, I will come back here to let you know it is up.

    Cyn’s last blog post..Ant Eradication

    • @Cyn, oh, what a beautiful testimony to the power of tea when it comes to connecting with the people we love! I love that you were able to take what I am sure were extremely challenging circumstances and turn it into a beautiful tradition. Talk about creating sweet lemonade from the lemons of life! I can tell you are such a thoughtful mama – to have planned out such intentional time for your daughter every day is so evident of that fact. What a beautiful, inspiring response. Thanks so much for sharing!

      Megan’s last blog post..Honoring the Power and Pleasure of Tea with Your Family

  2. Since my husband is from England, we drink a lot of tea in our home! Good to read about its many other benefits as well (besides just keeping me awake, I mean!)

    Jamie

    steadymom’s last blog post..Meal Planning Simplified

  3. Thanks so much for the lovely post on tea. I recently stumbled upon “Little Citizen’s Herb Tea,” a tea specially blended for children. My 1 year old loves the Cheery Apple Rooibos tea and I love having tea parties outside on a blanket with him already (when weather permits–we’re in the thick of heat and humidity too). I’m looking forward to a growing tradition of tea in our family.

    Kelly Feinberg’s last blog post..Birthday Boy!

  4. Kelly, thanks for the great recommendation of “Little Citizen’s” tea. I looked it up immediately and was pleased to discover they are blends from”Republic of Tea,” a maker you can count on for quality. Your little boy has great taste! It’s wonderful that you have begun enjoying tea parties with him at this early age.

    trisha’s last blog post..how ’bout another outing?

  5. Thanks for your follow up posts, Megan and Trisha. I forgot to mention that $1 from each sale goes to “Room to Read,” which benefits educational programs for children worldwide. Gotta love that.

    Kelly Feinberg’s last blog post..Birthday Boy!

  6. I loved this post! Drinking tea as a family has become a night-time ritual that we love.

    tacy’s last blog post..Writing and Homemaking Go Hand in Hand, part 1.

  7. am loving this whole thread!!!! Meant to mention that now while my daughter and I do still have teatime at home now and then, since she was about 12, she has also felt very excited and special when I have taken her to our favourite little tearoom. It’s in this quaint little town of Sparta, Ontario and it’s just always such a lovely day. The same conversation still flows and the company is lovely! Also, you might want to check out one of my fledgling blogs, The Little Red Apple Tearoom, for some delightful recipes.
    http://islandtearoom.wordpress.com/

    Cyn’s last blog post..Caaaaa-naaaa-daaaa We Love You

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was Twitted by trishadenise [...]

  2. [...] a tea lover, I was thrilled to see this post on Simple Kids today about the benefits of tea drinking for all of us, children [...]

  3. [...] following the recent okieOLIO field trip to SortaCrunchy to share my love of tea, one of megan’s readers suggested that a post about tea for kids would be useful. i thought it was a great idea, and so did the editors at Simple Kids, so today i’m happy to invite you to explore the Pleasure of Tea with Your Family. [...]

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