There are three ways to use the new PKR:

  1. Browse and click on color-coded boxes that appear as if by magic as you scroll down.
  2. Click on a category for all the ParenTips under that particular category.
  3. Go to the Site Map (link) for an:
    • a) alphabetical list of all ParenTips.
    • b) A list of all 8 categories with every ParenTip in that category listed alphabetically.

Or mix and match! Have fun as you get the information you need!

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Unfortunately many parents do not realize 1) how bad caffeine is for kids, 2) how many drinks contain caffeine, and 3) how these drinks are displacing nutritious drinks like milk in our children’s daily diet.

Kids do not need stimulants like caffeine. They have all the energy they need and then some. The rebound effect (it lifts you up and then lets you down) makes kids cranky and irritable. Caffeine can give kids stomach aches. You get the picture. Caffeine is not healthy for kids.

Caffeine is all over the supermarket. Many parents think if they don’t give their kids coffee there’s no problem. Wrong! Most soft drinks are high in caffeine, some have more caffeine than strong coffee. Both tea and cocoa can contain a good deal of caffeine.

There is only so much room in a kids’ stomach. If this digestive organ is full of the sugar, bubbles, and caffeine of a soft drink or the sugar and caffeine in a huge glass of iced tea, there’s no room for milk.

Only 30% of US kids take in enough calcium daily. In the old days when every kid drank a glass of milk with each meal, calcium intake was not a problem. Today’s harried parents may not insist that the kids finish their milk or may not even pour them a glass. Almost all kids eat at least one meal a day at school and those ain’t milk machines you see in the school corridors are they? And, alas, the milk cartons–mostly unopened–join the apples in the trash can.

Look at the kid’s trays the next time you’re at a fast food emporium. Most of the kids and their parents order a soft drink, often an enormous size which gives kids both a sugar and caffeine overload.

And there are long-term consequences, not just rebound crankiness. Obesity in children is reaching alarming heights. Osteoporosis is a geriatric disease but it is more likely to occur in those whose calcium intake was low in earlier years.

What can be done?

Parents: Read those labels! Eliminate caffeine and make your kids drink at least 2 eight-ounce glasses of milk a day plus cheese, yogurt etc. They whine for a cola at a fast food place? Say (and mean ) what my daughter does, “If you want your burger and fries you have to order milk and you have to drink it or we won’t come back here!”

Schools and citizens interested in schools: Get those blankety-blank soft drink machines out of there!