I've recently been in the habit of ordering my two-year-old daughter a babycino when we're out at coffee shops. It's not coffee, just frothy milk with some chocolate sprinkled on top, but it's in a miniture coffee cup - just like mine.
The other day my husband and I were out at breakfast and there happened to be a toddler's birthday party in progress. A shrill voice caught my attention and I turned to watched the little girl tear open one of her gifts, as her mother yelled in delight, 'wow, your own coffee maker!'. It was a toy cappuccino maker complete with milk frother, coffee cups, spoons ... the lot. I then looked at my daughter enjoying her babycino and it got me thinking...is this irresponsible? After all, coffee is a drug - just ask my husband who often blames his mood on the fact that he's yet to have his first cup of the day.
It takes me back to the days when I was little and it was perfectly natural for kids to walk around eating 'fags' - lollies made to look like cigarettes. Nowadays it would be frowned upon but back then everyone was buying them for their kids, or everyone I knew anyway. How long before we start thinking the same way about caffeine?
As my thoughts about being an irresponsible parent percolated, a friend of mine told me her three-year-old daughter was served a babycino with real coffee in it! She was horrified of course, and most cafes understand the concept of a babycino - but it was this story that really highlighted the potential dangers in offering kids pretend coffees.
What do you think? Is it just harmless fun...or something to be concerned about?