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.

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. 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”
  4. 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)
  5. 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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Want to feel confident knowing you have some simple, kind phrases up your sleeve to reduce your stress and frustrations at mealtimes? Get started below. Start minimizing mealtime meltdowns and stop fighting with your child so you can enjoy mealtimes again.


Thalia

Hi, I'm Thalia the Dietitian. I help parents raise healthy, intuitive eaters and foster healthy food relationships with their children. I'm an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist. I teach nutrition to college students, author higher education materials to accompany textbooks that engages students, and I'm mum to two little ladies (and a retired guide dog lab.)

3 Comments

Kenya Hawken · March 21, 2020 at 6:21 am

I’ll have to thank you for the success today

    Thalia · March 21, 2020 at 7:46 pm

    Excellent!

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