NOTE: I am part of the Glass Is Life campaign and have received the Le Parfait glass jars from the campaign, seen in the video and picture. I did not receive any compensation other than that for this post, tips and tricks are my own ideas!
Before I actually had to keep two very high spirited human beings alive and happy 24/7, I used to be very high-and-mighty about what kinds of materials I would allow my not-yet-born children to interact with and eat from. Plastic leaches all kinds of undesirable chemicals, that was out. Paper creates a great deal of waste, is quite expensive, and is not durable at all. Aluminum or stainless steel is very nice for cups and plates but is terrible for storage since you can’t see what’s inside. What does that leave? Glass, of course!
Glass is so pretty. If you aren’t convinced, just check out the Glass Is Life Instagram account. Glass is also so sustainable — it never wears out! A glass jar can be used over and over for different purposes, for hundreds of years with no leaching. And if it breaks, you can recycle it.
Ah, yes…breakage. That’s what I hadn’t thought of back in the day before children. Back when glass baby bottles seemed like a great idea. So it turned out that I did resort to plastic a little more than I’d like, for quite a while.
There was a time when we couldn’t use any glass, because my children are strong and forceful when they fling things. Probably from newborn to about 3 years old. But suddenly, both my children are 3 and older! And I am finding that I can explain to them how to use glass safely.
Admittedly, it takes a little trial and error.
Letting them fail (and break)
One of the lessons about glass that had the biggest impact on my son was when we were at Central Market and he was walking down the aisle of glass artisan juice bottles. Well, he was kind of skipping, actually. Running his hand past all the bottles as he went…you can see where that goes. He knocked one off and it went crashing to the ground in a huge mess of juice and glass. An employee had to come clean it up. He got quite the talking-to from me.
But it made a big impression. All I have to do now when he is reaching for or holding something glass is say, “We need to be careful because that is made of what?” and he’ll say, “Glass”. “And what happens to glass when we drop it like the juice at the store?” he’ll answer, “It breaks”.
Unfortunately, my just-3-year-old hasn’t had the juice jar experience, so she’s a little more unpredictable around glass. Recently, we went to IKEA and they both fixated on a ceramic tea set. We told them that we would buy it for them if they could learn to be gentle with it. The tea set cost somewhere around $10-$15. It’s been a great learning tool about breakage! My daughter has broken several of the cups on the tile floor in their play area, but it has been safe because the ceramic breaks very cleanly without shards. Still, the toy is gone when that happens. By allowing her to break inexpensive things that shatter relatively harmlessly, we are teaching her about why we handle glass more carefully than plastic.
Neither of them have fully learned how to handle glass, so I make sure they aren’t alone with valuable glass items or glass that would shatter into a million little pieces. But I do let them handle glass and we talk about it each time. Here’s a little video of them helping me unpack some Le Parfait glass jars (which I hope to use soon in a DIY post).