Weaning your little one off the bottle can be a stressful task. Not only is your child used to getting their favorite drink from a bottle, they get oral stimulation from the bottle nipple as well. For little ones, this can help them calm down or even fall asleep. When you transition from bottle to sippy cup, your child will have to learn new skills to control the flow of liquid and find an alternative way to calm themselves or get the same satisfaction that comes from sucking on the bottle nipple.
If you’re having a hard time getting your little one to switch over, here are a few ways you can help make the transition easier on your little one and the entire family:
Let Them Play With the Cup:
Before you toss the bottle and convert them to the sippy cup “cold turkey,” consider letting them play with a sippy cup first. Fill the cup up with water and let them stand at the sink and try to dump the water out, squeeze the spout, and otherwise play with the cup. You may also want to let them see you or another child drinking from the cup. If they understand how it works they may be less hesitant to give it a try.
Start With Juice or Milk:
A simple way to encourage your little one to start drinking out of a sippy cup is to begin by offering it with a beverage that they love to drink. Slowly switch your little one over by allowing them to have juice or chocolate milk only if they use their sippy cup. This will limit the amount of juice they drink and give them motivation to start using their new cup.
Skip the Hard Plastic Spouts (at least at first):
To help your child transition from bottle to a sippy cup, consider purchasing a sippy with a soft plastic spout. The spout resembles the nipple of a bottle, which may be more comfortable for your child.
Additionally, consider removing the regulator from the inside of the cup. The regulator is what controls how much liquid comes out at once. While this is great for keeping your diaper bag clean, it can be frustrating for a little one who wants to take a bigger drink.
Choose a Fun Cup:
Another way to encourage your child to ditch their bottle is to make their drinking container fun. Treating the cup special and encouraging your little one to drink from their new “big kid” cup will help give them a sense of empowerment. Consider buying a personalized sippy cup like these, which have the added benefit of getting your son or daughter acclimated to the written version of their name.
Sippy Cup Only When Out of the House:
Start leaving their bottle at home. Only allow them to have a drink when you are out on the road or at a restaurant if they use their sippy cup. Tell them that their bottle has to stay in the house and they’ll need to use a sippy cup when they aren’t home. Once they get used to this, start restricting the use of the bottle while at home, too. If your little one still uses a bottle to fall asleep, you may want to leave this transition until last.
Think Outside the Sippy:
Some kids just like straws better. Whether it’s because straws are easier for them to suck on, or because they think it’s more fun, it just works for them. Consider trying a sippy cup model that features a retractable straw instead of a regular sippy cup spout.
Another option is to let your child drink from a cup without a lid first. Try letting them drink out of your water bottle or a cup with just a little water or milk in it. Once they figure out that there is liquid in the cup, drinking with the lid on may not be such a big deal.
Make a Big Deal Out of it:
Kids love attention. They love being applauded and cheered for. They are likely to repeat the action when they think you are happy. Have you ever accidentally laughed when your little one was doing something naughty only to have them repeat the behavior immediately? It works for good behavior too! Clap, cheer and smile when he or she makes an effort to start drinking from the sippy cup and she’ll likely repeat it just to make you happy.
Helping kids transition to a new more grown-up behavior can be stressful for the whole family. Learning a few tricks can help make it easier and more fun for everyone!
Author Bio: Preston Davis is a first time dad, blogger and DIY extraordinaire. Master of the grill and all things culinary, he currently lives in Southern California with his wife and their 2-year-old daughter. Follow him on Twitter to see what he’s up to: @withPreston.