Choosing toddler cups can be confusing - there are so many options on the market. You only have to go to your local supermarket to see a whole variety of toddler cups and it can be hard to know which to choose!
Should you go for a sippy cup at first? A bottle with a straw? Try an open cup? We’ve come up with a guide that might answer some of your questions and make choosing a toddler cup a little easier when you’ve got a 2 year old!
What sort of cup should a 2 year old drink from?
It’s best to use an open cup or a toddler cup with a free flowing lid rather than a valve as these help a child learn to drink properly. Dentists and dieticians recommend open cups or free flowing cups for toddlers as they are better for the child’s teeth.
Choosing open or free flowing cups also avoids a difficult transition from a sippy cup - once a child gets used to it, it can be difficult to wean them off, not just because they feel familiar but also because they develop the muscles of the mouth and tongue differently to open cups.
Speech and language therapists also recommend open cups, free flowing cups or bottles with straws - see more about this below.
Actually you can introduce an open cup right from the start - containing breastmilk or formula, in tiny amounts - but most people prefer to wait until their baby is 6 months old or more before trying this. At this age your baby will be ready to start drinking water - a softer cup is preferable to a hard plastic one, it will feel more natural to your baby or toddler.
How should a 2 year old drink water?
Actually babies can start drinking sips of water from 6 months! A 2 year old can drink water from an open cup, a bottle with a straw or a cup with a free flowing lid. Little ones will just start with small sips but they’ll soon get the hang of it.
You can try putting water in a jug in the fridge to make it tempting in the summer, then pouring it into your 2 year old’s cup when they want a drink. Lovely and refreshing for little ones!
Try not to buy bottled water or single use plastic bottles as these are really bad for the environment. Bottled water additionally doesn’t contain the fluoride that tap water does, so kids will miss out on the benefits of fluoride for their teeth.
Tips for helping your 2 year old drink water:
- Sit with your toddler and show them how to drink from the cup
- Talk them through picking up the cup and drinking from it
- Help them with your hands if they are struggling to coordinate getting the cup to their mouth!
- A soft cup will feel more natural to your toddler
- You can also try a sloping cup
Remember, everything takes practice for your 2 year old toddler, and drinking from an open cup is no exception! Trial and error is always necessary when developing new skills - spills mean skills in this case!
Be patient, model drinking from a cup for your child, include them in mealtimes with the family and they will copy your behaviour. Just make sure you’re a good model!
What age should your child stop drinking from a toddler cup?
The NHS recommends that your child uses an open cup, bottle with a straw or free flowing lid, and these can be used throughout childhood - and beyond! These do not interfere with the natural swallowing pattern - but if you’ve chosen a sippy cup or cup with a valve then you should try to wean your 2 year old from these as soon as possible.
Its possible to buy open cups with handles and these can help at first - but probably pretty soon your child will want to join in with the rest of the family and drink out of a cup that looks like theirs! Kids learn a lot by seeing what other people do so if you set a good example, they will copy!
Minaym have a silicone toddler cup which is flexible and moulds to your child’s hand, feeling natural and easy to use. Have a look at our website for silicone toddler cups in a choice of calming colours!