What Montessori Parents Do Differently - Use Real Glasses. A Montessori View on Sippy Cups, Silicone Cups and Weaning Glasses
Many Montessori parents choose to skip or limit the sippy cup phase and go straight to using a small glass for their children. My children started using a small real glass to drink water (#3.) at six months when we began weaning. Sure there are lots of spills and drips but the payoff is the child becomes careful with their glass and they become adept at using it pretty fast. A clear cup or glass is also useful for a child learning to drink independently as they can clearly see what and how much is in it. In the car, at playdates, and next to the bed at night, we would use a water bottle and therefore never needing a sippy cup.
There may be developmental reasons why some parents choose to use a sippy cup. Recently I've noticed a lot of parents Montessori and Non-Montessori are choosing to use small silicone cups (eg, #1. #2. #4. & #5.). Small silicone cups allow the child to learn how to hold and drink from a cup independently but eliminate the risk of breakages.
If you are liking the idea of using a real glass but aren't ready to take the leap, perhaps a small silicone cup is a good middle ground option.
What did Maria Montessori have to say on the topic? Maria Montessori in The Child in the Family:
"In the "house of the child' every abrupt motion reveals itself by the noise of the chair and the table, and finally the child becomes aware of his body. There must also be a certain number of fragile objects - glasses, plates, vases and so forth. Now certainly adults will exclaim, "How come? Put glasses in the hands of three and four-year-old children! They will surely break them!" By this comment they place more importance on the glass than on the child; an object worth a few cents seems more precious than the physical training of their children."
Her take is that fragile items are needed in the child's environment as they help the child to refine their movements. The cost or inconvenience of a breakage should not be put above the needs of the child.
What about an RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) point of view? My favourite RIE baby book is Baby Knows Best by Deborah Carlisle Solomon:
"I recommend that parents use a small, clear glass for drinking. These allow your baby to see what is in the glass, and help to create good habits of holding the glass properly so that the liquid won't spill. Shot glasses can be good to start with because they are easy to grasp. At RIE, we use small Duralex Picardie glasses because they are durable."
If you are using a weaning table, the risk of breaking a glass is reduced as the glass has less distance to fall. Using tempered glass can also be helpful to reduce breaking and shattering if the glass is dropped. A shot glass or a glass of around 60-90ml is a good size.
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