A lot of parents have reached out with this problem… Food throwing and how to manage it. Here is a short guide to help get things back on track.
- Babies often drop food towards the end of the meal, when they’re no longer eating/hungry, look for and identify those cues (check out this article for some silicone place mats that stick to the table and make life easier, especially at a restaurant – scroll down a little)
- Part of the learning-to-eat process is touching and sometimes also dropping
- Help baby learn to keep food on the tray by verbalizing “please keep the food on your tray, you can put it in your mouth like this” (you do it!)
- If you need to guide their hand gently back to the tray, do that calmly without making it exciting (that may make them repeat the behavior to get your reaction)
- For children that are 12m+, give them a designated bowl/place on the table for items they don’t want. State your expectation: “if you don’t want that, please place it here”
- Eat with your kids – I cannot overstate the importance of this, it gives you the chance to SHOW them the behavior that’s expected (when you model it)
- For kids over 12m, if they continue to throw or drop food – go with 1, 2, 3:
- 1. Give a verbal reminder to use the designated place for food they don’t want
- 2. Warn them their meal will be over if they do it again (gently/calmly/non-threatening)
- 3. Follow through (calmly) and wash them up
- Calmly endure the screaming/tantrum, be confident that you’ve given them the natural consequence (food thrown = meal put away)
You can do this!
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