Special Situations - lesson 1

Food Throwing and Leaving the Table

Your adorable child thinks that meal time has become too much fun and has started to throw food. I know it’s so frustrating… but keep in mind this throwing of food can mean a few things:

– They find throwing fun, which is common in toddlers – everything is fun especially realizing they have arms to use to throw!

– They’re not very hungry and the meal is over.

– They need to learn boundaries – it’s okay to throw some things if it’s playtime, but definitely not food.

In my toddler & tantrums course, I go over throwing and other toddler-esque {laugh} behaviors in more detail; but consistency of boundaries matters. Throwing food is not okay. So, here are some scripts you can try at home… 

“I see you are throwing food. Food is for eating and not for throwing. If you throw the food again, I have to take the meal away.” If they do it again, you have to calmly FOLLOW through on your related consequence and boundary. “But Dr. They didn’t eat?” This is why the routine of meals matter. When you take the food away, you say “We can try again at snack time or dinner time or insert next meal or snack” This consistency is important because they will learn through your calm repetition and follow through that throwing means the meal is over so if I’m not really done, we have to stop this.  This is especially useful when children at 9 months to 18 months when throwing is VERY common. If you want, you could use a two-strike rule which means saying the boundary once. If they throw again, calmly REPEAT the boundary again and if it happens again; remove the food. “Okay you’re all done! Thank you for showing up today.” 

Another situation is a toddler who is at a weaning table. They keep getting up from the table. In a similar fashion, we need to repeat the boundary. “It’s lunch time. We eat lunch at the table. If you get up, it means you’re done.“ And if they keep getting up, you calmly follow through “You got up, that means you’re done. We can try again later.” 

Be consistent with boundaries and follow through every time and they WILL learn what this pattern means. 

It is a LOT of repetition, but in parenting repetition and consistency DOES matter. 

You will rely on a meal schedule to reassure you that meals and snacks are being offered as well as  safe foods to ensure something favorable is being offered, but we have to stick to boundaries here to diminish these unwanted behaviors.