A lot of parents with toddler kids around the world find themselves cleaning off food from the floor, walls and curtains. Throwing food is one of the reactions by toddlers to express their displeasure about the food. A child normally throws food away when he or she is not hungry or does not like the taste. Once the habit develops, it can become a great concern for parents who want their children to be well mannered and eat their food in a nice way. Have a look at our step by step guide if you share this concern and have been putting up with food marks all over the place.
Teaching toddlers not to throw their food will be easier if you know the reason why they are doing it. Some kids do it because they do not like the food. Others are not hungry enough to eat while some others think it is a fun activity. You need to find out the reason by examining his behavior closely as a parent. However, this training will take its time and you will have to act patient. Keep a consistent disapproving behavior whenever the child throws food so that it registers in the mind that you do not liked the act. Some parents laugh at it one day considering it something cute and act stern the other day. This stops any preventive action from being effective because the child is unable to make a connection between his/her behavior and your reaction. Try to develop a cause and effect relationship with your child.
Look for signs:
When your toddler is eating, look for expressions on his/her face that suggest displeasure or mischief. As a parent you might be able to judge the right moment when he/she is bored or full and starts planning to throw the food. Some kids even do it as part of fun where they treat food as some flying toy. Look for the mischief in his/her expressions and the naughty twinkle in the eyes. No one knows your child better than yourself.
Eat with them:
When settling down to eat, place your child’s high chair or seat in front of you and treat him/her in a mature way, giving impressions that you expect them to behave in a nice way. Engage them throughout the meal so that their mind is not diverted towards disposing off the food in such a non-ceremonial way. You can also put a separate bowl or napkin in front of them and teach them to put any unwanted food in them instead of throwing it. Teach the child by doing this step yourself. Praise generously and treat with dessert when your child exhibits good table manners. Positive encouragement can do wonders.
Give food to your child in multiple small servings. Give him more only when he is done with the earlier serving. This will give him/her very few options because there will be very little food to throw and even when he/she does throw a little, you will know now that it is better not to give him/her another portion
Give a break:
When your child starts throwing food, withdraw the utensils and tell him/her that he/she will get it only when he/she is ready. Be consistent with it. Every time your child starts throwing, take away the food for a few minutes and give it back only when you feel he/she wants more to EAT. This way you will let him/she know that you do not approve of throwing food.
No pets during meals:
You never know your child might be trying to feed the pet in the room by throwing food at the floor for them to pick. The best option is to keep the pets out of the room while your child is eating so that there are no distractions and eagerness to feed the pet.
Make meals interesting:
Maybe your child does not like the veggies in the plate or any other food group? it surely does not mean that you exclude an entire food group from the diet. Just make it appear more interesting and tasty by putting in extra and innovative efforts in the kitchen. Get him/her a colorful plate bowl and spoon with his/her favorite cartoon character. Give him incentives like a treat if he/she finishes his meal without throwing it.
Ask for help in cleaning:
Whenever your child throws food around the room, ask him/her to help you clean it with you before proceeding to eat his/her favorite dessert or a treat which could be a chocolate bar or candy. Be consistent and patient. Do it every time he/she throws food around. The eagerness to get to his/her favorite treat will make him/her realize indirectly that he/she is being kept away from it by the consequence of his/her own actions.