M.F. asks from Houston, TX on January 11, 2008
Throwing Food Overboard
Just a question for all you more "experienced" moms. I have an almost 14 month old. Every time he sits down to eat in his high chair, after eating a few bites, he starts to throw food overboard. We have dogs, so it's not the clean up I'm worried about. It's the fact that when my husband or I tell him "No" in a stern voice and tell him to put it in his mouth, he just smirks and does it again! At this age, everything they do is so cute, but I'm starting to realize that he is not understanding "NO" and if he does, then he's just choosing to ignore it! Is this a phase? Do all kids this age throw food? Is it an indication that he doesn't want to eat what we're giving him. I mean, I'll offer him green beans and for every five that he eats, he throws one or two. So, he's still eating even though he's throwing. If he immediately throws it overboard, I don't offer him that food again because I know it's just going to the dogs, but I've tried slapping him lightly on the hand, but it seems to have no effect, and honestly, I'm not one to spank, so I don't want to go down that road. Any suggestions??
3 moms found this helpful
So What Happened?™
Wow! Thank you so much to all of you moms out there that took the time to respond to my query and give great advice. Just some background on our lovely son! He has been feeding himself 100% for about 3 months. He does not like to eat off of a spoon, therefore everything we feed him has to be finger foods. As you can imagine, that makes mealtime all that more of a challenge. We only use his tray for food and don't give him any utensils or plates during mealtimes.
I have noticed this weekend that when we're not watching him like a hawk he doesn't throw the food as often. It appears that if we don't make such a big deal about it and don't give him the reaction, he doesn't do it as much. I will definitely try the "food time out" and see if that helps.
As far as the dogs are concerned, I'm not sure that he's throwing the food for their benefit. He can't really see them from his high chair since they hang out under the table because they're afraid of getting hit in the head by a sippy cup. I don't think he's aware that the food he drops is being eaten by them. They are not beggers - they've been trained well. (we're still working on our son!)
Thank you, thank you for all of your feedback. More importantly, not that it makes it right, I was so glad to hear that this is something most moms go through and that his behavior is "normal". We will continue to work with him!
Update as of 01-16-08
I'm proud to report that my son is improving and we're learning as well! We've been giving him one or two pieces at a time and that seems to be doing the trick. The first piece of food he throws over, we stop giving him that and take it away. We've also been eating as a family and since my husband and I are having conversations, we are not constantly watching him. From the corner of my eye I've been able to see that he's about to throw something and when he realizes no one is watching, he puts it in his mouth instead! I never knew kids this age were so aware!!!!
Thank you for all of your support!!!!
A.B. answers from Dallas on January 14, 2008
Read Parenting with Love and Logic! It's great and very logical advice. They have a website also, but I don't know the address...should be easy to search. Good Luck!
J.S. answers from Dallas on January 14, 2008
My son went through this, too. I would just say no first, then grab his hand the 2nd time, & look him in the eye & say no firmly. If it got really bad, then I would pop his hand. Eventually, I would take his food away if it got too bad. Good luck! BTW, my son did grow out of it.
F.W. answers from Dallas on January 14, 2008
I know it's frustrating, but it's probally just a phase. He is probally enjoying getting a reaction from you, whether it's a positive or negative one. It could be the simple "cause and effect" that he's enjoying. He's probally thinking, "Wow, if I do this, then Mommy does that." I'm not telling you to ignore the behavior, but he will outgrow this. But be forewarned, there's always another "phase" looming ahead!
S.L. answers from Dallas on January 13, 2008
I have 3 kids: 8,4 and 1. All three of them have thrown food at that age. My youngest is 16 months and he is doing the same as your child. This is the age where they are exploring with new things that they are just learning and this is the time when they understand words you say,like NO. Your son is learning that he can push your buttons and he wants to see how far he can go. I hope this helps your situation! I wouldn't get concered because this is a phase he is going through.
S. L. Mother of three
C.H. answers from Dallas on January 13, 2008
I agree with the others that say to take the food away from them. Putting food in timeout was effective with my son, but only somewhat with my daughter. We had to resort to removing her away from the table. We really didn't see an issue with it untill we took our twins out to eat right after they started the phase and our entire table floor was covered in their food. The dog apparently had been eating quite a bit of food. Although it's cute, that smirk will only get worse the closer they get to 2. Nip it in the bud NOW, or you will loose complete control in a few months. Although no one can avoid the 2s or 3s, Setting the boundaries now will make it alot easier and more manageable. I'm so glad that my husband and I stuck to out guns, it's paid off in quite a bit of instances. Good Luck.
M.B. answers from Dallas on January 13, 2008
You have gotten a lot of great advice--I just want to also say that yes--they are little scientists at this age and for a while and love to throw things because the notice that they can actually "make" something happen. If you do react more to it than they will do it more. Sounds like you are doing the right thing.
Also they do not eat as much at this age so I would just put less on his tray.
And teaching no in other situations will be helpful, too. Remember to also have patience. I know it is hard when you have a great mess to clean up, but that will soon pass and you will miss the days of him being a baby.
C.H. answers from Amarillo on January 13, 2008
Yes this is normal its fun its become a game. If you don't like it them ignore the behavior if he doesnt get attention by doing it then hell stop, any attention is good attention. He eat if hes hungry, other than that pay it no attention, you can use redirection too getting him interested in something else or when you do see him eat his food give him praise for that. But, if he throws his food pay no attention say nothing.I am against slapping on the hand it just teaches them that if they don't like what someone is doing then you hit them.
L.C. answers from Phoenix on January 13, 2008
Take him out of his high chair as soon as he throws food. Tell him food is for eating, not throwing. Then do something else for a while until he wants to eat or you think it's been long enough to try again. He'll figure out soon enough that he won't get to eat if he throws his food. Good luck!
S.B. answers from Houston on January 13, 2008
yes most kids throw food. i hope your dining table is not on the carpet. (if so buy a cheep rug or plastic thingy to go underneath). try to give him TINY amounts to help regulate his behavior. self-feeding is important and will pay off soon when he figures out how to be a responsible appropriate eater that you enjoy being at the table with (okay, it might take a year or more for that lofty goal!)
but the best thing to do is say that throwing food means "all done." You say firmly, "if you throw food you are all done". we had a major food thrower until we started that. voila. hope it helps.
R.L. answers from Houston on February 24, 2008
Maybe your son like to watch the dogs clean up his mess! I would try putting the dog outside and then putting your son in his highchai to eat.Make sure your son sees the dog go out though.
If that doesn't work I would say "No" one time..and then if he does it anyway, then take him out of his highchair and take the food away. Once he gets hungry enough and understand who the boss is...he should come around and start eating instead of trowing.
I hope this works! Keep in mind to...this is of course a phase! Eventually he won't be so entertained with it!
P.S. answers from Dallas on January 13, 2008
Both my boys did that when they were that age. My youngest did it often and for longer period time than did my oldest. I think the issue just resolved itself over time. Just keep telling him no and sooner or later he'll grow out of it.