Using an open glass and missing out the sippy cup stage

One of the first things that introduced me and my husband to Montessori, was seeing a toddler using a little glass to drink from. He was the son of a lady running a baby group we attended and was having his lunch. She got out this little shot glass and he drank so confidently from it and we were both impressed.

After researching and implementing Montessori principles more deeply into our lives, our first son always drank from a glass and never had training cups or sippy cups. Even from six months old.

The theory is that a child is capable of using real tools if we give them the opportunity. Many people have often said “my child would never manage that”. But they really would if they’d been given the opportunity to. Cups with lids, non spill 360 degree, super straw craziness is for the parents not really for the child. It’s non spill so we don’t have to clean it up. But by giving our children non spill, often plastic so it doesn’t break, cups and bowls etc we are actually saying to the child “I don’t trust you and I don’t want to clean up your mess”. There is no learning or practical experience being made if a child cannot make the connection between tipping and getting wet, or throwing and not having a cup because it’s broken.

Once they are sat at the table in the high chair and are confidently taking food to their mouths, is when it’s a good time to introduce the glass. I just hold it in front of them, state what it is and maybe sign it if my hand is free and then let them reach out and hold it. For the time being I keep hold of the glass too and let the baby investigate it and sip from it. I find that Jude will start banging his hand of the table when he wants more so will offer it to him again. As their coordination improves I will hold it less and less until they can manage taking it to their mouth themselves. I’ve found with the other two, that picking it up and replacing it on the table requires an awful lot of effort and hand eye coordination. This part may need support for a while.

Yes the water does get spilled but it’s water, it wipes up. It means that wherever we go our children can always drink without the need to have carried three sippy cups with us.

Also people are always mightily impressed/slightly horrified that we let our baby drink from a glass. A friend once said to me “you always cut out the middle man don’t you” and I said “yes, but actually it makes my life much easier in the long run”. It then means that there isn’t that transition period to contend with later down the line.

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