Who’s Thirsty?

Mar 06, 2017

Have you ever noticed that when your child wants a drink of water, you are just about to begin an activity?

It’s almost as if there is a secret sensor that the child tunes into knowing that precise moment to ask.

Whether on the phone, getting ready for a quick shower or sitting down to catch up on emails, you can almost hear the question before they ask!

What if there were a way to create a space for your child to have access to their own drink station, where they could pour their own class of water whenever they feel the need?

In Montessori classrooms, water is always available for the child to serve themselves.

This is easy to do at home as well.

You only need a few materials that you may already have available. A small, water resistant tray, two small clear cups and a small pitcher.

Watch how we have allowed Emily to get her own drink.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Prolonged use of hard spout sippy cups may delay the child’s development of mature swallowing patterns. When a child is born, the sucking reflex is vital for the child to attach to the breast and successfully nurse.

When the baby is swallowing, the tongue is thrust forward. As the child gets older and they are sitting upright to eat, they begin to adopt a more mature swallowing pattern.

Frequent use of cups with spouted lids, only encourages the older child to continue using infant swallowing patterns and thrusting the tongue forward to swallow.

Frequent tongue thrusting has been strongly linked to misalignment of the teeth and future speech difficulties. Although there are new spill proof lid designs and tops with straws, consider the introduction of an open cup.

Once a child is able to sit up confidently by themselves (approximately 6-8 months), they are ready to try an open cup. Using a sturdy table with a heavy chair, the youngest child can sit confidently at a table and practice with a small cup.

Yes! You can use a glass cup!

Look for small 2 ounce tempered juice glasses with a tapered base and comfortable grooves great for little hands to hold. If you don’t feel ready yet to use a glass cup, there are also wonderful alternatives such as enamel camping mugs.

Create your drinking station by locating an area in your kitchen within reach of your child. This could be a small table, the lowest section of a baking rack, a small shelf space or even atop a sturdy stool – get creative!

Choose a small tray with a raised edge. Once you find a pitcher that you like (coffee creamers make great first pitchers), fill it halfway with drinking water.

When first introducing a drinking station, consider using a clear cup where the child can see the level of liquid in the class.

Keep nearby some folded towels that the child can use to clean any spills made on the floor.

The beauty of this drinking station is that it can grow with your child. The two year old child can use a 2 ounce glass with a 6 ounce pitcher, a three to six year old can use a 5 ½ ounce cup with a 16 ounce pitcher, and so on.

Giving the child an opportunity to prepare their own drink of water allows them to feel like a capable member of the family. It helps grow the child’s sense of confidence and self-esteem in their abilities and helps refine their growing coordination.

Try it today!

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  • Let us know how it goes! In the comment bar below, tell us all about your home drinking station. What worked? What didn’t?



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