How To Teach Children With GDD To Sip Through A Straw

March 11, 2022

I'll share in this post how I taught my two children to sip through a straw.

I couldn’t believe that Miguel has already had a full month of occupational therapy. This is actually our longest in-person therapy duration in the last two years because of the changing community restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past, we’d only have a month of face-to-face therapy then we’d stop, do home therapy, then do some classroom sessions again, and so forth. Suffice it to say that I’m so happy with our progress.

How to teach kids with GDD to sip through a straw

How To Teach Children With GDD To Sip Through A Straw

    Listening to other parents

    In a previous post, I told how I’d listen to my fellow parents while we were at the waiting area. They were mostly moms that’s why they easily got along easily; I reckon. Anyway, through those moments, I was amazed to discover that children with Global Developmental Delay (GDD) are completely unique individuals in terms of the skills that they develop.

    One child may learn how to speak by age three while another child of the same age may already acquire self-care skills but remain non-verbal. Some of my other surprising discoveries was that one little girl who was about five or six years old still doesn’t like to eat solid foods. And then one seven-year-old boy still doesn’t know how to sip through a straw and blow candles.

    Miguel still doesn’t know how to blow candles but he eats solid food (already exclusively because he hated the new taste of Lactum milk) and he knows how to sip through a straw. I’m quite proud of myself for having introduced Miguel to the use of straws when he was a year old. With the help of his former yaya, we were able to teach him how to sip through a straw in just a few days.

    The same goes for Rafa. He’s neurotypical but I used the technique for teaching him to sip through a straw when he also turned a year old.

    Anyway, I used to think that sipping from a straw was no big deal. However, since learning that other parents find it challenging to teach that skill to their special needs kids, I suddenly viewed that skill in a different light now.

    Teaching my sons to sip through a straw

    So how did I teach Miguel and Rafa to sip through a straw? Here’s how I did it:

    • Since you are trying to teach your little ones, they should have an incentive for sipping from a straw. Give them something delicious like a milk chocolate drink (I started with Magnolia Chocolait) or a yogurt drink like Dutchmill
    • Your child won’t automatically sip through a straw when you put it in their mouth. They should realize that there is a delicious treat waiting for them, all they have to do is sip it. As such, press the container a little, just enough to squeeze out a little of the delicious drink so that they’d taste it. That would sort of tease their taste buds and entice them to sip the liquid. 
    • They’d attempt to sip it but they won’t succeed immediately. You may have to press the container a few times to release more liquid and encourage them to keep going.
    • Do this exercise daily until your kids finally learn to sip on their own.

    That’s how we did it. We had to do this exercise at least twice each day until our kids finally got the hang of it.

    How about you, how did you teach your kids to sip through a straw? You might have other techniques that you may want to share in the comment section below.

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    1. My sons started to drink through straw without problems. But I know many people who had problems with straw or solid food. Parents need a lot of patience that's for sure.

    2. Thanks for sharing your experience, I have friends who will benefit from these tips. Using a treat drink like chocolate milk is such a great tip.

    3. Very helpful! I also give incentives to my kids when they were young, it's always the trick to teaching them :)

    4. I dont remember how my parents taught me how to sip through a straw but milk chocolate drink is a good start.

    5.'s good to know that you got wind of this diagnosis in time. Otherwise, the child would be in so much difficulty. I am glad we are all in a better place.

    6. This reminds me of my youngest so much. Although we have no diagnosis, my youngest's development is relatively slower than his two older brothers. I remember the first time he tried to write the number eight and he had to do it so many times, crying, too, because he couldn't get it right. And how we played with this toy that flips monkeys to the tree. He had problems controlling his hands, so it took him a looong time before he finally shot one successfully. I have a photo of us with our arms up, our mouths open with glee and we were celebrating it.

    7. Starting with chocolate milk IS a good incentive for learning how to drink from a straw. That's a flavor hard to resist.

    8. Talking with other parents will help to get an idea of how to do that. Great tips!

    9. These are some really good ideas. Such a simple thing beautifully explained. Great parenting tips!

    10. I never know about the GDD not until now. Good thing I was able to drop by here. Thank you for sharing this and the tips and ideas! I am sure parents will definitely learn from this.