Straws are also one of the best, functional ways to work on lip, cheek and overall oral strength. Using thicker liquids with straws will make it more difficult to suck, but will also slow down the process so that your child is really focusing on using their muscles to suck the liquid through the straw. A thicker sip is also easier to manage and swallow when it gets to your mouth because it doesn’t move as fast as a thin liquid.
There are so many different straws to choose from, from the free straws at a drive through to crazy, twisty straws (a little harder to use because you have to suck harder), to cute, pretty paper straws. Letting your child choose which straw they want to use can be a great way to put some snacktime/mealtime control in their hands . They don’t necessarily get to choose what’s for dinner or when it is, or where they eat, but they can pick their straw, their utensils, their plate (you get the idea). Choices mean they get a say-so and that goes a long way towards contentment at the table (and everywhere else for that matter).
Language and Senses:
If you have a clear straw, you can watch the liquid go ‘up, up, up’ until you get a delicious sip! If your picky eater isn’t ready to sip themselves, let them track the liquid in a straw while you drink. Use a phrase like ‘up, up, up’ or ‘going, going, sip!’ so they have fun, game-like language that will pop into their heads when presented with straws in the future.
Add Pretend Play:
Have a picnic with toy animals, dolls and action figures and give them pretend sips from straws. If you’re using a cup with characters on it, you can take the straw out of the cup and give ‘sips’ to them, too.
Add A Song:
Make up a song about straw-drinking to any familiar tune or sing this one to the tune of “Farmer In The Dell“: “The drink goes in the cup; the drink goes in the cup. Hi ho the derry-o the drink goes in the cup. The straw goes in the drink; the straw goes in the drink. Hi ho the derry-o the straw goes in the drink. The straw goes in your mouth; the straw goes in your mouth. Hi ho the derry-o the straw goes in your mouth.” Etc… you get the idea 🙂
Have fun! Happy food-play!