Thursday, September 10, 2009

Children's Tea

My dear, if you could give me

a cup of tea to clear

my muddle of a head

I should better

understand your affairs.

- Charles Dickens

I know what comes next. After seeing your tray of delights, your children will want their own tea. Well, why not?

Through the years, I catered to my kids' requests for tea. Shamelessly. Whenever we were taking on a challenge, when they were feeling unwell, when everyone was down in the dumps, or when I just wanted to jazz up the day, we made a tea tray for school and enjoyed it while we studied a special book or worked on a project.

Tea wasn't a cure-all, but it never hurt us. Life and school were better for it. Not only this, but I found that our tradition of tea really did help them concentrate better. The shared joy of putting together a "a party plate" reminded us of the good things and set us laughing and enjoying one another again. When we returned to our work, we were able to approach challenges with a clear head and renewed energy.

Here's how we did it. First, I put on some classical or jazz music to set the mood. Then I put the water on to boil. I kept leftover party napkins from previous events. One child could select a napkin for each of us and find the cups and silverware. The other could search the kitchen with me for treats. These had to be things we could put together easily.

Usually, we made a little sandwich and cut it into quarters. Or we had cheese and crackers. We added some fresh fruit or veggies. The finishing touch was something sweet -- cookies, marshmallows, raisins, etc. I routinely picked up iced animal cookies and pop tarts to have on hand for this.

We brewed the tea, put everything on a large plastic tray, and carried it to the room where we would be working. Usually the tea was decaffeinated and served with plenty of milk and sugar. One of the keys for younger children is to use non-breakable dishes and easy finger foods. Keeping things simple and worry-free means everyone will relax, even Mom.

They loved this tradition of ours, and we continued it all the way through high school. They especially loved the flavored teas. In the fall, we liked cinnamon and nutmeg- flavored teas. For Christmas, we chose Constant Comment or Earl Grey. Raspberry tea was our Valentine special. Lemon flavors were our choice for spring.


Would your kids like their own tea tray? What would you put on it?


  1. I am sure my daughter would love it and think she was so sophisticated. I have a feeling my son would put his nose in the air to the idea until he saw how much fun it was. Their tea tray would have peach tea and mini cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. What a perfecet way to slow down and relax.

  2. Hmm...Today, our tea tray would have the chocolate chip muffins Rachel baked this morning. Other days, it might just have Oreos. Rachel is a cocoa girl, but Mommy is all tea.

  3. All of these sound delicious!

    May I come over and have some, too?

  4. My girls would love this, especially my youngest. I would probably put some home made cookies on the tray, which would entice my son to join us. :)


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