The Weaning Glass
I remember the day our sippy cups were dirty and I was too lazy to clean one. So instead I reached for my cup and let Gregory drink from it. He had done it before many times, it was always a fun surprise because he was copying us. Watching him drink this time inspired me. I rummaged the cupboard until I found a shot glass to fill and give it to him. No, not with alcohol, with water.
Gregory drinks from a glass now, and it took one day to learn how to use it. We often use a shot glass but do switch to a sippy cup with no lid and handles when he requires a better grip. Bean is learning to drink way faster than I thought he would pick it up, he spills sometimes, but even Adrien and I spill sometimes. So I don’t bother getting upset about it, spills happen, and my baby can drink from a cup like a grown up. How rad is that?
The Montessori Way
Montessori is all about letting your child discover how to do things on their own. It is their world too, and they need to learn how to navigate it. The only way we learn real life skills is by doing. We can help guide our children, but ultimately it is up to them.
Children are much more capable than we give credit for. Sure they need direction, but so did we, and still do at times in our lives. They don’t know anything, and it is our job to help and let them discover it. By handing your child a cup you are enabling them to discover liquid and how to control it. What happens when liquid spills and how to clean it up. Being able to drink on your own is a simple yet large task we take for granted, why not allow our young children be able to quench their thirst on demand?
Things to be Aware of
- There is going to be a mess. That much is obvious. Children bring messes, and children learning will make bigger messes. It is important to NOT make a big deal about it. If you say ‘don’t do that, look at that mess’ and make them feel bad, you’re confusing them. Learn to do something but not make a mess? Children aren’t capable of not making a mess, their brains aren’t finished growing all the proper connections for body control.
- It will be a game. We clap and cheer for Gregory when he drinks correctly. Who doesn’t want their own cheerleading squad? Just be aware that once your child sees the positive reaction, and the fact that the cup will be refilled and handed back repeatedly… well it’s just the best game ever! Eventually baby won’t even be interested in drinking anymore, it will just be a game, and that is OK! It only means that the learning opportunity it over, children have small attention spans, don’t expect them to keep interest for more than a few minutes at a time.
- Fill the cup a little bit at a time. There is going to be spills, and baby is going to get drenched. Only fill the cup you are using a little bit at a time so that there is a lower spillage rate, and baby can have more control over the liquid. I suggests having a small jug of water for quick refills, there is going to be several at each drink. Don’t rush the process, it takes time to grow your brain connections.
- If you use glass, it will break. There is no reason for you not to use a glass cup. Chances are it will be thrown to the ground on several occassions, but hopefully your little one won’t be on the floor level if it was thrown hard enough to break. Don’t be upset over broken glass, things break. Use small shot glasses so they have a better grip on the glass to control it.
If you are shaking you head reading this, saying ‘just give the kid a sippy cup and be normal’, let me at least explain to you some reasonings and positive information to help you see my side of the story. That way if you don’t want to attempt this parenting method with your children, you at least won’t give me the stink eye. SIDENOTE: We need to stop judging other parenting styles. Keep an open mind, and embrace foreign methods, you never know what might work for you!
Letting children learn to drink from cups right away allows a child to learn hand eye coordination. It also lets them do stuff ‘just like us’ Remember when you were a kid and wanted to do grown up things? Watching adults do stuff and being upset if you weren’t allowed to do the same. Babies are no different. Think of thier frustration when they understand something, but aren’t given the opportunity to explore it. It’s our job as parents to monitor and provide a safe play space, but let the kids learn to be an actual person.
I think teaching someone not to touch something because it’s not safe, then being upset because they see you touch it all the time, is not fair. Obviously it seems safe, so let them explore that small part of the world so it is
safe. Cups are such a simple thing in life. By introducing cups at an early age we are allowing our children to explore and understand our world a little bit faster. What is the harm in letting them drink from a cup? Besides, we are generally more patient with them at this stage with all their cuteness and no ‘tude. It might make the struggle of a mess easier to deal with. Just because it is okay for a mess doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother me.