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My 2 year old keeps throwing/tipping his food

(12 Posts)
mubbybeck Tue 19-Jul-11 19:18:20

Help please! It's getting me down now. My just-turned 2 year old son has thrown or tipped his unwanted food for a long time now. Initially we would explain to him it's not good etc but now he's turned 2 and still doing it I want it stopped. I'm doing time out (2mins now he's 2) but my problem lies in once he's done his 2 mins do I give him pudding? That's the part of the meal he really loves. Part of me wants to say no pudding because you threw your dinner / tipped it over but is that too harsh for a just-turned 2 year old? What experiences have you all had? Tonight was a lovely sausage casserole with his daddy but over it went all over his tray, then the bowl thrown to the floor. I'm just annoyed we let it go too long before clamping down hard on it straight away. He doesn't seem to show any care in what he's done. He'll look down at where I'm pointing and have a look on his face as if to say "and so what" Oh dear!!

noblegiraffe Tue 19-Jul-11 20:52:38

When you say you explain to him it's not good, what do you mean? In a fluffy way?

I'm in favour of a stern telling off. A 'NO. We don't throw food, that's naughty, it makes a mess' in a very sharp tone, completely unsmiling, making sure he's looking at you. Then take the food away, as soon as he starts messing around with it.

Does he do this with dinners that you know he likes? Is this merely a way of telling you he doesn't want to eat it?

I'm not of the 'pudding is a treat that can be withdrawn' camp. I'm not sure I want to make those sorts of behavioural associations with food in case it leads to issues.

drivingmisscrazy Tue 19-Jul-11 20:57:20

yes, agree. Stern but brief telling off; take food away. If DD does this now I make her clean up the mess, too (she's 2.5). I find it helps if she is hungry, and if I make the effort to engage with her while she's eating (not always possible, of course). If she starts to mess with food I take it away and the meal is over. It doesn't impact on the snack she usually has before bed (fruit, usually). I wouldn't personally bother with the time out.

is he at nursery? if so, does he do it there? DD has impeccable table manners when she is not at home, so it's partly an attention thing. Giving smaller portions may help too - you can always offer more.

noblegiraffe Tue 19-Jul-11 21:13:20

I should add, I wouldn't bother with time-out either. I would think it could be used for removing a child from a situation where they need to be away from it to calm down, or, perhaps for an older child, to have a bit of a think about what they did and how they upset someone. I don't think either would apply in this case, 2 year-olds aren't very good at reflective thought!

drivingmisscrazy Tue 19-Jul-11 21:15:27

giraffe agreed! he probably just thinks it's a means to get his pudding!

Mobly Tue 19-Jul-11 21:34:08

My 20mth old DS is exactly the same, and his 3yr old brother was exactly the same at that age too! I have been saying crossly, 'NO DS we do not throw food' for ages now, alot, to no avail.

Not sure how that helps exactly but DS1 did stop doing it by 3 I think. I think they both find it highly amusing. I am forever mopping up drinks from the floor and wiping food splatter from walls and radiators. The joys of Toddlerhood.

I made myself look like a bit of a wally actually today. DS1's pre-school held a teddy bears picnic, DS2 was invited to sit at the table with a few biscuits. He must have decided he would prefer to fling them on the floor, I stepped in obviously and said the whole 'No DS we do not throw food' but as fast as I could pick the pieces of biscuit up he would throw another piece, so I was picking up biscuit while he was showering me with biscuit. I must have looked really in control there then- not!

Mobly Tue 19-Jul-11 21:35:10

Oh and yes, keep the time out for the really naughty stuff, you know, like hitting, anything that hurts others. Throwing food is annoying but not really naughty IMO.

Mobly Tue 19-Jul-11 21:36:45

Oh and to elaborate further... DS2 was dressed as a really cute teddy bear while he was showering me with biscuit. grin

mubbybeck Tue 19-Jul-11 22:01:37

Thank you all for your suggestions. Now you've mentioned it i understand about the time out. It's almost like I'm taking him away from dinner where he probably doesn't want to be anyway so I'm doing him a favour taking him away! I'll stop that tomorrow. Noblegiraffe I use a stern voice when I talk to him or it may come out more of an annoyed voice sometimes blush

He's so quick when he does it though, it can come totally out of the blue. One mouthful he could be fine then suddenly it's tipped over or on the floor. I try my best to stop it but either miss it or get a handful of it sad He'll do it with anything to be honest EVEN yogurt his favourite!! I have to say he's always been a one to take or leave food, he's never been one to rush to the table in excitement. Never been phased by food. And I've even tried cutting out snacks sometimes or giving him something small like raisins so it doesn't fill him up. To say something good about him there are times he'll eat really well and he'll eat a lot of what's on his plate. Smaller portions are a good idea though so then the final bit that he doesn't want won't end up on the floor!

Oh dear Mobly I totally feel for you sad It was 2 weeks ago when I thought right enoughs enough; we were having lunch at one of his friends houses and he had a few spoons of his soup then tipped it out all over her table. I was so embarrassed, soup everywhere. I told him off but felt so conscious that it wasnt enough and looked like he was getting away with it.

Yes he goes to nursery drivingmisscrazy and he also has good table manners there.

noblegiraffe Tue 19-Jul-11 22:10:54

Have you got one of those Tommy Tippee Magic Mats? They have a sucker on them and stick the plate/bowl to the table - my 23 month old can't get it unstuck. This would at least limit what he can do with the food, he might be able to swipe a bit, but at least he couldn't tip the whole lot over before you got to him.

Mobly Tue 19-Jul-11 22:14:48

Noblegiraffe, my DS1 used to just peel it up at the edge- no use whatsoever for the determined toddler- good idea in theory though isn't it?

Mubbybeck, it's frustrating, but like everything else just a phase and you will look back on it and laugh.

AngelDog Tue 19-Jul-11 23:15:21

Can you try to explain what you do want rather than what you don't?

We tell 18 m.o. DS 'if you don't want your food, give it to me please'. It took a while but he usually gives things back to us now rather than throwing them. We did try telling him to leave it on his tray, but he didn't like having it still there if he didn't want to eat it, and would still throw it.

I don't think that leaving a while before getting 'tough' is necessarily a problem - until a month or two ago, we just ignored DS doing it and kept a mess mat under the table.

DS removed one of those Tommee Tippee mats about the second time I used it - when he was 9 months!

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