As the cool air sweeps in with the fall, I switch from iced coffee to hot (maybe making me not a true Bostonian?) and I start sipping hot tea all day instead of just with breakfast. I like to share with my kiddos, so we make blends that work for all of us — caffeine-free, delicious, and with added health benefits.

My son loves smelling the different dried herbs and mixing them together. When you use mild-flavored, kid-friendly herbs, it’s hard to make a bad combination, and our general recipe is about four parts of a sweet base herb (like mint or lemon balm), then one or two parts of other herbs, as needed. The mix keeps well sealed in a mason jar. When you’re ready to brew, spoon one teaspoon of the mix for each cup of water into a tea ball and let it steep. My son has his own rocketship-shaped tea infuser, but I use a plain metal tea ball. For herbs, we love Cambridge Naturals, with its 150+ bulk herbs and spices, but you can also order from a variety of companies online. Here are some of our favorite herbs to steep:

Peppermint and spearmint

An easy, simple favorite that helps with focus or achy tummies, this is also a great herb to mix in with other blends to help cover up stronger tastes. 

Lemon balm

Lemon balm is a close relative of mint and is great for soothing nerves and quieting the mind. 


Elderberry is a bit tart, but it’s great for boosting immune systems. It’s often made into a syrup, but it’s even easier to throw some in an herbal blend.

Rose hips

This is another herb that’s very high in vitamin C with a sour flavor.


This herb is so safe and easy that chamomile steams are often used for congested infants, and the tea promotes relaxation and sleepiness. This is a great, cozy bedtime herb.


Ginger is too spicy on its own for my kiddos, but mixed with lots of fresh lemon juice and honey, this is our favorite sick-day remedy. We call it spicy hot lemonade, and it soothes sore throats and boosts immunity.


Believe it or not, catnip is not just great for making kittens crazy, it’s also a pretty powerful — but kid-safe — relaxant. This is a great herb to add on days when you know bedtime will be a struggle.

We like to have a special treat of piling on blankets, sipping hot tea, and reading books. Other days, we’ll add in herbal tea as part of our bedtime routine. And it can be a fun ritual to ease back into home life after school. Let me know what blends your family makes, and when you enjoy them!