Sippy cups are EVERYWHERE and heavily marketed to parents as a tool for transitioning children from breast or bottle feeding to drinking water and other liquids. While sippy cups may seem like a convenient solution, they may not be the best choice for our children's development. In fact, it's better for children to learn to use an open cup instead of a sippy cup for their speech and feeding development. Let me tell you why.
- Sippy cups can impact speech development
When fed from a nipple or teat, babies swallow by bringing their tongues forward which is often referred to as an immature swallow - totally normal. We as adults swallow by raising our tongues up to the hard palette (roof of our mouth) and this is called a mature swallow. The large, hard spout of a sippy cup often hinders development of the mature swallow as it doesn't allow the tongue to elevate to the roof of the mouth. This can impact how the jaw develops and thus can be the cause of speech problems down the road. On the other hand, drinking from The Open Cup requires children to develop the correct tongue placement, which can promote healthy jaw development and speech production.
- Sippy cups can lead to tooth decay
Prolonged use of sippy cups can be harmful to a child's teeth. When children drink from a sippy cup throughout the day, the constant exposure to sugar from drinks like juice or even just milk can lead to tooth decay. This is because sippy cup spouts can cause liquids to pool around the teeth. By contrast, drinking from The Open Cup promotes healthy saliva production, which helps wash away harmful bacteria that can cause tooth decay.
- Open cups promote independence
When children learn to drink from an open cup, they are able to drink independently from any adult cup without the help of an adult. This promotes a sense of independence and self-sufficiency in children - what's better than knowing you can confidently sneak a sip of Mummy's cup of tea without making a mess?! It also teaches children to be mindful of their movements and to pay attention to what they are doing. It makes drinking less passive and more thoughtful.
- Open cups are better for motor skill development
Learning to drink from an open cup is a great way for children to develop their fine motor skills. When children use an open cup, they must use their hand-eye coordination to guide the cup to their mouth without spilling. This helps develop their motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and also a rough understanding of the physics of what will happen to the water if they don't keep their hand steady.
In conclusion, while sippy cups may seem like a convenient solution for children learning to drink from a cup, they may not be the best choice for our children's development. "But what about out and about?!" I hear you say. It's simple - choose a cup that has a soft, flexible straw for when you're out and about or in the car. This way you can serve the a drink and know that it's not going to be spilled everywhere, after all even we don't chug from an open cup mid workout! But at home, if you are looking for ways to promote your child's development, consider ditching the sippy cup and investing in The Open Cup. Your child will thank you in the long run!
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