Practice using a cup

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Highlights
  • By one year of age, most children should be able to grasp an open cup with both hands.
  • Motor skills and hand-eye-mouth coordination are necessary for using a cup.
  • Spilling is part of the learning process; expect spills before, during and after drinking.
  • Practice will help your Toddler to perfect his cup drinking skills.

By the time your child reaches the Toddler stage, he’s probably enjoying the experience of drinking from a cup. You should take every opportunity to swap out his covered sippy cup for an open cup. Let him practice with an open cup, while seated at a table, as much as he is willing — practice will make perfect! 

Cup drinking basics

Here’s what you can expect from your Toddler and his cup skills:

  • He understands where to place both hands on the cup. Cups with handles help him figure this out.
  • His hand-eye coordination is improving — making it easier to get the cup to his mouth.
  • Expect some spilling. It’s a challenge for him to keep liquid steady as he brings the cup to his mouth, drinks and puts down the cup.
  • When finished drinking, he’ll often release the cup or let it fall. 

Good to know

Offering a full cup is easier to drink, because it requires less tilting up of the cup.

There are also ways that you can lend a helping hand:

  • Use a cup that is heavy enough to be stable.
  • Fill the cup almost to the top, so he doesn’t have to tilt it quite as much to drink.
  • Try introducing a cup with a straw.
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