What to do when your baby throws food! Is your baby throwing food on the floor? What should you do in this situation? How to teach baby not to throw food.
Introducing your baby to solid foods is an exciting time. But with every new season also comes new, unique challenges.
One of the most common complaints among parents and caregivers is when kids throw food on the floor.
While this is a normal part of the new-eater experience, it doesn’t mean you have to allow it.
Here are some tips for what to do when your baby throws food.
Why do babies throw food?
Trying to understand why your kids are throwing their food can be frustrating, especially if they can’t quite articulate for themselves yet.
But there are generally only a few reasons that trigger the desire to throw.
Older infants usually throw food for exploration and learning.
Toddlers tend to throw food because they are bored, want attention, or are trying to tell you that they’re done eating.
While we support food as a multi-sensory experience for kids, we think it’s safe to say that throwing food is generally an unwanted behavior for parents.
What to do when your baby throws food
In preparation for the next time your baby starts throwing peas like confetti, consider the following:
If it seems like your baby is throwing food for attention, giving positive attention to something else while not making a big deal of the throwing usually works.
Positive praise can be saying something like, “I love that you are keeping your food on your plate!”
You can also place attention on another topic altogether, like, “I see you using your spoon skills to eat that cereal!”
If toddlers aren’t hungry when they come to the table, they may be more likely to throw.
A routine snack and meal schedule can help with this.
Kids thrive on routines, and this is true when it comes to eating patterns as well.
Following a fairly regular schedule for meal and snack times on a daily basis can help prevent them from becoming too hungry, or not being hungry at all when presented with food.
Set mealtime expectations
Before the meal, set expectations.
For instance, “I won’t let you throw food. If you don’t want something you can leave it on your plate or you can put it in this separate bowl.”
This should be simple and clear for your child to understand.
(P.S. Setting expectations like this also helps with picky eating!)
For chronic food throwers, start with small amounts, especially if it’s a learning-to-like or new food for them. Having too much on their plate can be overwhelming and trigger a desire to throw.
An easy approach is to consider that around 2 minutes per year of age is a reasonable amount of time for them to sit at the table.
We know that this seems like barely any time. But especially if your toddler isn’t hungry, sitting for more than a few minutes likely means they will start to act out/throw food.
There are tools you can use to increase sitting at the table, like a sand timer, that can offer visual cues for your child around how long they have to eat at that sitting.
Signal the end of the meal
When they are done, remove the plate and them from the table.
Not only does this help signal that the mealtime is over, it also removes the temptation to throw what’s remaining on their tray.
A baby throwing food on the floor can be frustrating. And we’ve been there! If you’re looking to help your baby stop throwing food, try one – or likely many – of these tips for how to teach baby not to throw food.
Chime In: Have you struggled with your baby throwing food? What has helped you?
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