Monday, December 3, 2012

Montessori Mondays: Sippy Cups vs Real Cups

Sippy cups are great when babies are first learning to drink, but then they can become a crutch. And let's face it, most of those things are seriously ugly. So, instead of getting Coco completely hooked on sippy cups, we introduced real cups very early. We got her these sweet glasses at IKEA. They satisfy two Montessori prerequisites - 1). they're breakable and 2). they are a smaller version of what adults use. They also satisfy my own prerequisite of being very inexpensive. (See Montessori prerequisite #1 ;) So when we are at home, these are the glasses Coco uses at mealtimes. When we are out and about, we take a sippy cup because they don't leak or break and that's important when we're riding the tram and she decided to toss it over the side of her stroller. Around the house, she also uses a sippy cup because it doesn't spill and because she could get hurt if a glass broke and I was in the other room. Soon we will switch to the Sigg bottle Klinik Im Park sent her for her first birthday, but it's a little big at the moment. 

Perhaps you're wondering why Montessori philosophy would suggest giving a baby something breakable. Excellent question! It is because we want to give children a realistic impression of the world  we live in and the everyday objects in it. The things adults eat and drink out of are breakable. Yet, when we give children things to eat and drink out of, they typically are not breakable. This gives the incorrect impression that you can drop, throw or otherwise be careless with cups, bowls and glasses because they will not break. On the other hand, during dinner a few weeks ago, Coco knocked her bowl off of the table and it broke. It made a really strong impression on her. J and I stayed quiet and watched her react and take it all in. She stared for a long, long time at the broken bowl and spilled food without saying anything. Finally, it registered and she looked at us seriously and said, "uh-oh." Then we knew she understood what had happened. I explained that her dishes will break if they fall to the floor and cleaned it up with little fanfare. 

We use glass and real dishes at most of her meals at home and it's the only break we've had so far! Of course we expect more, so we use inexpensive glassware and dishes, but she does seem deliberately careful within her capabilities and it is amazing to watch. I feel that it respects her intelligence and gives her an appropriate challenge in fine tuning her motor skills. 
She also thinks that eating off of regular dishes and drinking from a normal glass like we do is pretty cool. :) Do you give your child real, breakable dishes and glasses? Or do you think plastic is the way to go?

6 comments:

  1. Love this post! While reading the first part, I planned to ask you why choose breakables... and then BAM there you go :) I love that concept. I'm not really sure when that would be appropriate to start with Ruben. The thing he loves most about his hard plastic bowl is chewing on it when he is finished. I often have my fingers secretly under the rim and I love surprising him after a minute of chewing by tickling his little tongue. Oh the giggles! I did let him drink from my glass the other day and he loved the sound his two little teeth made when he chewed on the glass... but then he became so frantically excited by it I actually thought the glass might break. We just started a sippy cup but he just uses it as another chew toy and hasn't figured out how to get any water out yet. It's fun to watch his little brain tick away...

    When did you start breakables? I really like this concept.

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    1. We started pretty early, but she hadn't figured it out yet. Then a couple months ago, she really had drinking out of a glass down and it was easier. So just try as you go, I guess! ;) xo

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  2. I really like the idea of giving breakable glasses. I might have to try this for sitting at the table. K already uses a real fork and plates and sippy cups around the house. Too bad there isn't an IKEA close to me :(

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    1. Isn't seeing them use a fork the cutest?! I love it! I'm sure you could find some cute shot glasses for her to use until you get to an IKEA! ;) Haha!! PS - Congrats on #2!!! Eeeek!

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  3. Hm, I had never really thought of the idea that giving children breakable things even when they're young teaches them about the real world and not being careless... love your blog, my friend! :)

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  4. We also give Valentino real breakable dishes. One day we remarked that he wanted to eat from the same plate as we do and drink from the same glass as we do. So, the plastic dishes have gone and it's also easier for me.

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