Tips for Ditching the Sippy Cup

Sippy cups are a great invention and have saved moms lots of spills and messes. But sometimes kids can get too attached to their sippy and don’t want to give it up. If your child doesn’t want to give theirs up and you need some ideas on how to get them to quit using it, here are some tips for ditching the sippy cup.

Why Ditching the Sippy Cup is Important

Sipping cup weaning is important because the long-term use of a sippy cup can cause multiple problems for your child including:

  • Illness due to mold or mildew growth inside the spout or valve.
  • Mouth injury from falling while using a sippy.
  • Tooth decay and cavities.
  • Damage to developing permanent teeth.
  • Speech problems.
  • Improper development of the airway.
  • Increased need for orthodontia.
  • Change in facial appearance.
  • An unhealthy relationship with food, developing “comfort feeding” habits.
  • Child and adult obesity.

(List source: Mom Loves Best)

Tip #1: Pick out a “Big Kid” Water Bottle/Cup to Replace the Sippy Cup

Dr. Saleh Al Daghreer of City Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry says that, when it comes to weaning, sometimes it can be helpful to replace the sippy cup with a special water bottle. She says:

“As adults, we often forget how important it was when we owned a thing that was ours as a kid. It didn’t matter if it was a toothbrush, a belt, or a cup. If it was ours, we wanted to use it. Leverage this urge with your kids when it comes to ditching the sippy cup. Take your kid to the store to pick out his or her own cup. Find a place that sells cups with their favourite characters on it, and suddenly this cup becomes the greatest thing in the world. Your child will want to use it exclusively, and you can quietly make the sippy cups disappear.”

ditching the sippy cup

Tip #2: Have a “Bye-Bye, Sippy Cup” Party

If you want to help your child quit using their sippy cup cold turkey, consider making a big deal out of it (in a good way) and have a party! Ask your child to help plan a “bye-bye, sippy cup” party, complete with decorations, food, and games. While the purpose of the celebration is to say farewell to the cup, it is also a celebration of your child becoming a “big kid.” Make sure they feel special and that they understand that after the party, they won’t need to use the sippy cup anymore because they have “graduated.”

Tip #3: Try Easing Away from The Sippy Cup

You know your child best. If you know that quitting the sippy cup cold turkey isn’t going to go over well with your child, try simply limiting the times that they can use their sippy cup. For instance, you could tell your child they can use their sippy cup during dinner time or out and about and that’s it. Remain consistent and offer lots of help and encouragement as your child learns to use their new cup during breakfast, lunch, and snack time at home. For example if (no, when) they spill, don’t make a big deal out of it. Say, “Whoops! That’s okay!” and have them help you clean up the mess. The less pressure you put on them, the better they will transition.

Tip #4: Set up a Rewards System for The Days Your Child Goes without Their Sippy Cup

When young children are trying to form new habits, a little reward system can help them make steady but sure progress. Make a sticker reward chart to hang on your fridge. Each day that your child goes without using their sippy cup, they get a sticker. Once they have 30 stickers, you could have a bigger prize to celebrate their progress like a trip to the zoo or a new toy.

If after trying these tips you’re still having a hard time getting your child to transition away from a sippy cup, be sure to talk to your doctor or dentist about it, especially if you have a deadline in mind, such as before they enter preschool. A medical professional can give you additional tips based on your situation and help create a weaning plan that will work for your child.

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