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Throwing food on the floor - Need to do something?

(17 Posts)
angel1976 Tue 08-Sep-09 11:20:06

Hi all,

First-time mum here. Had a very difficult start with DS (now 18.5 months) and was really helped by everyone here and haven't posted for a while. DS has really blossomed and is such a joy now to us. grin

The one issue we seem to have trouble with is him throwing food on the floor. He has done this for as long as I can remember. We started weaning on purees but I started him on finger foods fairly soon and he was given a spoon from about 13/14 months. At the moment, he can feed himself fairly confident but messily but I can deal with that! However, it's the food/spoon/bowl throwing that drives me up the wall sometimes.

I can understand that some of it is to do with 'playing' i.e. using water/liquid for mark-making and experimentation etc. But how far should I let him go? He tends to upturn his bowl, lob the spoon or food at me or the wall, upturn his water cup (I use both a doidy and a closed water bottle but he will either upturn the doidy or throw his bottle on the floor) when he is done eating though this sometimes can happen very early on in the mealtime.

I never thought it was an issue (been told he will outgrow it) though it is very tiresome of course but DH gets really annoyed when we are out and about and he does this in a restaurant. To be fair, I always try to clean up the place before we leave. DS also gets angry if we try to remove food / cutlery / bowl from him if he throws them. We went on holiday recently and it was obvious not all toddlers do this!

His understanding has come on leaps and bounds in the last few weeks and I wonder myself if this is something I should try to put a stop too? It would make life a lot easier if he stopped doing this as his baby brother is due in 2 months! Any advice from mothers who have been there, done that and got a very mucky T-shirt to show for it? grin Thanks!


CyradisTheSeer Tue 08-Sep-09 11:23:25

Message withdrawn

angel1976 Tue 08-Sep-09 11:41:09

Is it a boy thing then? We went on holiday with our friends with a two-year-old daughter and she ate like a proper child! Also am close friends with someone with two little girls and they don't seem to do the food throwing thing (mind you, one of them likes spitting out her half-chewed food ALL THE TIME, which DS does now and then when he has had enough as well). Sigh

PrincessToadstool Tue 08-Sep-09 11:43:01

My 22 month old is like this. Someone said on MN in the last few days (don't remember which thread it was on) that we should remind ourselves that adults don't eat like this so they WILL grow out of it!

WowOoo Tue 08-Sep-09 11:44:47

DS1 started to do this. I would say no, take away food and put in kitchen and then go back and pick it up. He stopped after a week of messy hell.

He's still messy and can't keep still but tries really hard these days.

MrsBadger Tue 08-Sep-09 11:49:28

dd started doing this at 18m ish

I'd whip it away at the first sign of messing about and say 'DD, if you have finished, just tell mummy and I'll take it away, you don't have to throw it on the floor'.

2.1 now and doesn;t do it any more but I think it does need positive action to resolve, not just a wistful hope he'll grow out of it.
Like any other undesirable behaviour really.
DD used to hit when she was younger and has 'grown out of it' in that she doesn't do it now she's older, but that is the result of lots of 'NO. We DON"T HIT', not just of her getting older.


angel1976 Tue 08-Sep-09 11:55:12

I do tell him now that we don't throw food in the house and that if he doesn't want it, he should tell mummy and I will take it away... I do take the bowl away from him but I have to say I tend to try to continue feeding him then. I can't bear to see him 'starve'! I have tried spoonfeeding him and it is less messy but he gets frustrated as I know he wants to do it himself... Someone give me a step-by-step guide on how to stop this behaviour but will enable him to continue eating at the same time? Thanks!

WowOoo Tue 08-Sep-09 11:58:56

I'd let him make a mess within reason.

i.e Accidentally dropping stuff on floor and on table OK.
Chucking it off plate anywhere else is not OK

He won't starve, especially if you leave apples and bananas lying around if you feel guilty for being too tough!

midnightexpress Tue 08-Sep-09 12:00:47

I'm afraid to say that my two (nearly 4 and 2.8) still make a right old mess with their food on a regular basis. DS1 is becoming slightly more civilized, but still enjoys 'experimenting' (mostly = pouring his water into his bowl/plate once he's finished eating and then pouring the resulting ghastliness to adn fro between cup and bowl). It drives us wild, mostly the fact that we have to tell them every day. Onkly solution seems to be to take everything away as soon as they have finished or as soon as they start playing up and constant constant reminders. As calmly as possible. Would love to know if someone has found a really good solution to this.

EyeballsintheSky Tue 08-Sep-09 12:03:47

DD (nearly 20 months) was lobbing everything onto the floor including her bottle when she was finished with it and toast crusts etc. After a few weeks of telling off she now hands me things when she's finished with them but she does still drop crusts where she stands. <sigh> At least it's getting better I guess.

angel1976 Tue 08-Sep-09 12:29:57

midnightexpress - That sounds like my DS. I know he is not doing it out of maliciousness. He does like playing with little bowls/cups and like you said, trasferring cotents between containers and squashing fruit etc.

WowOoo - DS is still too little I think to depend on him helping himself to fruits! He can't eat whole fruit as he can't peel bananas etc but if I leave bowls of cut fruit around, I know he will take them out to play i.e. squash them to bits!

Eyeballs - I wish DS will hand things to me when he is done!

angel1976 Tue 08-Sep-09 12:31:11

Oh yes and when he drops something on the floor, DS actually turns to look at said item on the floor and goes 'Uh Oh' so obviously he knows he shouldn't do it (but it's so cute!). grin

sorky Tue 08-Sep-09 12:41:38

Chill! He's 18 mo. You can tell him "No" until you're blue in the face, but all that will happen is you'll end up in a fight with a toddler (and they cannot be won, those fights) and everyone ends up upset.

No it's not convenient but ime kids aren't there for convenience wink, in fact they become distinctly less convenient the older they get hmm.

I wouldn't make a fuss or remove his cutlery etc as he will become very frustrated.
Wait until he's finished playing (which is what mealtimes are partially about when you're 18 mo) then get some cloths out and ask him to help you clean up the mess. All toddlers love being helpful.

He will grow out of it. The pouring of water into food irks me senseless, but I have to keep telling myself that it's just another way for them to learn about the world around them.

He is doing it on purpose btw, because for him it has a purpose, he's exploring the world of food. That's the way I see anyway.

MrsBadger Tue 08-Sep-09 12:59:22

ok step-by-step:

ds shoves plate away
move it out of his reach on table
say 'ds have you finished?'
if 'YES', wipe face/hands, remove bib, remove from highchair
'Ok ds here it is, but eating not messing please'
return plate

if good eating say 'oh lovely eating ds, good spooning, well done' etc. Important even if you feel silly

if further messing repeat from start

third time of messing:
'but ds it is for eating not messing, if you are only messing you must have finished'
move plate out of reach
offer spoonful yourself 'One more spoon? mummy helping?'
if YES then he is obv hungry so do some spooning yourself
if NO NO MY BOWL etc then hands/face/bib/highchair

MrsBadger Tue 08-Sep-09 13:04:20

(Nb I am tolerant of on-plate and on-table mess, of pouring water into food, of stirring drinks with forks, placing empty bowls on head, using empty plates to play peepo etc etc
but chez badger spreading said mess to floor or other diners and throwing food / crockery / cutlery etc isn't on)

angel1976 Tue 08-Sep-09 13:36:22

Thanks all for some helpful advice. I think I do need to chill a bit as I said though DS's understanding seems to have come on leaps and bounds, he is not at the age yet of being able to communicate effectively (he still gets confused by no/yes, and says 'nice' to everything even if he spits it out and make a face!).

Thank you sorky for some re-assurances and MrsBadger for some useful tips I can use for 'damage limitation'!

He does mostly put the food on the floor (and not at other diners! Thank goodness!) when we are out. I seem to be the target at home as I am sitting directly opposite him! We were at a friend's house on Sunday and they have much olders DCs (8 and 10) and while eating with them, I think DS was sufficiently entertained/fascinated by them NOT to throw food so I know he's capable of it... hmm

PrincessToadstool Tue 08-Sep-09 14:19:51

Oh I didn't mean just let him get on with it! I second MrsB's last post and it's what I do, but I do find reassurance that in knowing that just because he is not listening now, doesn't mean he never will. Perhaps I phrased my post wrongly before.

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