Tired of meals flying past your face after putting them on your toddlers tray worn-out mama? You aren’t alone!
Read-on for some tips on how to prevent food throwing by your toddler or get them to at least help clean up the mess they created.
Prevent Food Throwing: Don’t Laugh
For the love of everything holy, do not crack a smile or giggle when the food is tossed. This reinforces the entertainment factor for your kiddo and they will increase the behavior to get the laugh.
If you need to, leave the room. Have a tag-team partner who can step in if your resolve breaks.
Keep a straight face and say, “We don’t throw food.”
Try not to wear a mad face either because they live for that too in some cases. My son loves to push that button and it brings him great joy to see my eyes bug out of my head.
Prevent Food Throwing: Allow Food Choices
Instead of plopping down broken up pieces of what you pick from the fridge, let them do some deciding.
Come up with a few options to put in front of them and ask, “Which one?” They will get in the habit of understanding they can pick what they want from your hands.
My biggest tip for this one is don’t let them see any other choices around that you don’t want them to have in that moment. They will throw a giant fit to get the veggie cheese puffs or fruit snacks ahead of your banana or applesauce packet any day!
Prevent Food Throwing: Offer a Bowl for Unwanted Food
Even if they get to choose, they may still decide that what they have is what they don’t want. Cue the wiping their hands furiously over the tray to get everything off of there!
Try giving them a bowl to discard things they decide that they don’t want.
- Watch learn the cues they give for when they’re about to throw the food
- Hand them the bowl and say, “Put what you don’t want in here.”
- Rinse and repeat until they get the hang of doing it without prompting
Giving them the bowl for what they don’t want replaces the feeling that they don’t have words to tell you they don’t want it.
Prevent Food Throwing: Have Them Help Clean Up
No matter what you try, there will still be incidents involving the tossing of what they don’t want on the floor. They’re toddlers and we don’t own a magic wand mama!
In these instances, get them to help clean up their mess as I mention in Chores Toddlers Can Do.
Have them get down on the floor with their discard bowl and start picking everything up. Be prepared that they will then proceed to eat half of what they threw on the floor.
Just Keep Swimming
Dory said some brilliant words when she sang the phrase, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” You are going to continually go through this exercise so just settle in and keep swimming.
Some days will be better than others and the other ones you’ll need to enjoy a nice glass of wine the size of your head!