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Jul 16th, 2020

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Teaching a Toddler to Use an Open Cup: The Basics

Helping your little one learn how to drink from an open cup is a major step, up there with mastering self-feeding and potty training. Teaching your toddler how to master this skill doesn’t have to be overly strenuous. Take a look at our top tips for teaching your toddler how to use an open cup.

Start Small

As you begin the process of encouraging your toddler to drink from an open cup, start small with the amount of liquid you put in their cup. Filling up the cup a fourth or half full is a great place to start! For their first few times, you might also consider giving them their toddler drinking cups in a place where messes are less problematic, such as during bathtime or while they’re playing outside in the water. This is a process that guarantees spills, so starting with a forgivable setting is a great way to start.

Use the Right Size Cup

Little hands call for little cups. When introducing open cups, we would not recommend giving them an adult-size cup. Instead, use a toddler-size cup that fits well in their hands. This makes it much easier for them to brave the task on their own. These toddler cups are weighted at the bottom, have ridged sides that make it effortless for toddlers to grasp, and have a wider base than the top, making it easier for them to get a drink and harder for them to tip their cup over.

Lend a Hand

Everyone needs a little help when learning a new skill. While giving space for your little one to learn to drink from an open cup is important, that doesn’t mean they have to go it alone. If you can tell they’re hesitant, lend a hand and tip their cup a touch to help the water touch their lips. This will give them the motivation they need to hold the cup up themselves to continue to get their drink. Another great way to motivate them is to keep a cup for them that is easily accessible. These magnetic cups are easy to keep on the fridge, allowing your kids to see it regularly. Encourage them to bring you their magnetic cup when they need a drink.

Set the Example

The imitation stage starts at eight months and lasts until your child is around three years old and beyond! Be intentional about setting the example of drinking from an open cup for your child: hold your cup in your hand, give your toddler their cup, exaggerate your actions, and drink from your cup in slow motion so that they can watch how you do it. Once you’ve taken a drink, invite them to do the same from their cup.