I started drinking coffee when I was about 6 or so. Just weak coffee, like half a teaspoon of ready made coffee. I liked it and didn't notice any bad effects as a kid.
Thanks for your input. I give my two sons (ages 10 and 3) small/moderate amounts of coffee. They enjoy it very much, and it doesn't appear to have any negative effects on them, but it's nice to get other opinions (especially Peatarian ones). :-)
There apparently was a study done in Brazil that suggested that kids drinking about a cup a day had lower rates of depression, but I've been unable to find it. I also read that coffee is one of the first beverages introduced to babies in Guatemala. Still looking for more research on the subject.
I think of coffee as a therapeutic substance. Kids tend to be healthier metabolically, so I think it's not as useful to them.
"For pregnant women, caffeine intakes of up to 200mg a day did not raise safety concerns for the foetus. While for children aged 3-10 years and adolescents aged 10-18 years, a daily intake of 3mg per kg of body weight was considered safe."