Toddler Who Throws Food

Updated on February 22, 2008
T.C. asks from San Antonio, TX
5 answers

My 21 month old little boy is going to drive me crazy with his throwing food and plates from his high chair and even throwing down the high chair tray with the food on it despite me running across the kitchen at full throttle trying to stop it! I've tried smaller portions, sitting with him, time outs, even a little spanking once when the plate he reached was glass and shattered all over the floor. He smiles when he does it. Should I not make a big deal out of it? Is this a phase toddlers go through?

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answers from San Antonio on

Its a phase, they have to learn. He is also doing it for your reaction, you know the cause and effect thing. All i did for my kiddos was tell them ok your done, get them out and no more food till it was time to eat again!! It may sound mean for kids that young, and some people may not agree, but it worked for me for both my boys. Good Luck, and remember dont make a fuss!!



answers from Austin on

I did something similar with my kiddos (still doing with ds). As soon as it starts going on the floor, 'All Done'
Eventually I learned to anticipate when dd was finished and would scoop up the plate/bowl/etc and then praise her for not throwing food on the floor.
You get more of what you pay attention to!
The only other thing that I did with dd was *not* put her in the high chair. She had a travel booster seat that had a permanent place on one of our kitchen chairs. While she was eating, she was required to stay seated. But as soon as she was done, she would pick at her belt-strap and sign "Finished". I would let her down immediately to reinforce the desired behavior.
Again, you get more of what you pay attention to!

K. H, mama to
Catherine, 4yrs
Samuel, 13mos


answers from Houston on

yep, I'll have to chime in and say when he throws things he's done. My daughter likes to bang her cup or fork on the table. When she does this I give her one chance and then I tell her "you must be done since you are playing" and I put her down. She is 23 months old. It works pretty well. Now ussually if she bangs things- I ask her if she is done and she holds on to her plate and say "no!". She knows I'll take it and she stops.



answers from Austin on

This may sound mean, but when he throws it down...he's done. Don't give a second chance. Soon enough he will figure out that he is hungry and the reason he is hungry is because he lost his food. Don't give him another plate. Just tell him he is done and make him wait to eat at the next scheduled time. If his next scheduled time to eat is snack time, only give him a small serving to hold him over till the next actual meal. Don't make a big fuss over it. Just calmly say "Ok, your done" and move on to the next task at hand. It may take a few times, but he will figure it out. Best of luck to you.



answers from Houston on

I agree with the other posters that said when he throws his food, he's done with his meal. The only way this will work is if you're firm about it and don't give him a snack 5 minutes later because he's hungry. He has to learn the consequences of his actions (i.e. if I throw food, I'm gonna be hungry because I won't get anything else to eat until the next meal). Sounds mean, but it works pretty quickly. Best of luck to you!

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