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When to teach baby not to throw food on the floor?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
My almost 1-year-old throws food on the floor at mealtimes. Sometimes dishes as well. This seems perfectly normal, and doesn't really bother me.

However, I was just thinking that eventually we'll have to teach him to stop.
Is it better to start that sooner, so he hasn't got the food-on-the-floor habit too ingrained? Or should we wait, to avoid reducing the fun of mealtime with "nos"? What is an appropriate age to learn that lesson? (he's certainly capable of understanding if we tell him no, though doesn't always listen, obviously).
post #2 of 23
I don't allow throwing food on the floor or dishes during mealtimes. It is a family standard that I teach my children from the time they start eating with us. If something is thrown down once or twice I'll give it back (b/c sometimes it was an accident since their motor skills aren't the best as older infants/young toddlers) but after that it's put away and the meal is over.

My kids only threw stuff down when they were done eating anyway.

When they throw it down I just say "Food doesn't go on the floor, it stays on the tray or in your mouth" and put the item on the table instead, and then I get the baby out of the high chair and we clean up.
post #3 of 23
My kids are 9 and 5. They threw food when they were babies and don't now.

Our family standard is to laugh and say: "Gravity! Works everytime."

Perhaps this is why my kids are scientifically inclined.

But then, my first didn't really do solids until 13 months.
post #4 of 23
Start to teach the child from now. As when you have visitors over he will do the same thing, even if you tell him not to do it. He seems like a smart kid from you description , try and teach him from now as when he becomes older it will be harder for him to break the habit. It definitely wont be cute anymore, especially if he starts breaking dishes that you cherish or may be move on to breaking appliances. Look also at the fact that he might get quiet a few scratches when the broken dishes hits the floor with sudden force, and splinters get all over the place. So please look into these few suggestions.
post #5 of 23
Teaching doesn't mean saying no or giving negative consequences. Right from the start, I'll say to a baby, very gently, that food doesn't go on the floor, my current one clearly hasn't a clue what I'm saying, but at least it won't get to a point where I suddenly seem to not allow something that was previously allowed.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natsuki View Post
I don't allow throwing food on the floor or dishes during mealtimes. It is a family standard that I teach my children from the time they start eating with us. If something is thrown down once or twice I'll give it back (b/c sometimes it was an accident since their motor skills aren't the best as older infants/young toddlers) but after that it's put away and the meal is over.
WSS!
post #7 of 23
At almost 1, I didn't do anything about my DD throwing food on the floor. I cleaned it up, sometimes giving her a washcloth and letting her help if she wanted.

Now, at almost 2, she hasn't thrown food on the floor since she was 12/13 months old. I figured it was just a stage and that once she figured out how gravity worked, she wouldn't need to test it again. I figured she'd grow out of it eventually (she probably won't be throwing food on the floor when she's out on dates, you know?). I just let it pass.
post #8 of 23
Pththtthth on once they start throwing food on the floor they'll never stop unless you teach them.

They do stop when they stop being babies. And I promise you your sweet not even one year old will someday be a sweet 9 year old who laughs when her cousin throws food, picks it up and says "Gravity! Works everytime."

Not every baby behavior needs to be curbed.
post #9 of 23
Nope, I wouldn't worry about it. Throwing things on the floor means they are gone. We don't do dishes except a sippy cup and a spoon (which mama holds). The sippy cup gets dropped once and picked up; after that mama holds it. But we don't stress about it. When she stops dropping food on purpose, she can have a dish. Honestly I don't have the energy to teach her not to!

ETA: isn't it wonderful how things fall and land somewhere unpredictable?! They never land in the same spot twice. It's almost like watching a waterfall. Yeah, the water ends up at the bottom, but its wonderful to watch it go down.
post #10 of 23
my first just stopped one day testing gravity as we called it in our house. Right now with DS2, its the same and one day it will stop, so we just shrug and break out the dustbuster to clean around him

If you have concerns - I would just give smaller amounts of food and multiple portions as I found the higher instances of "gravity testing" occurred after DS was done eating and ready to play
post #11 of 23
I don't make a big issue out of it, but I don't just ignore it either. I start when they start eating-- so 7 or 8 months old, for my kids. If a child is accidentally dropping, that's one thing. I ignore that, or pick it up without a murmur. But when food is being dropped on purpose, if it's more than once or twice, I'll say, "okay, you look like you're all done," and take the food, and start to clean up and get the child moved on to some other activity. Often I'll just wipe the high chair clean and offer more appropriate objects to throw, like baby spoons or small toys. I don't scold or anything. My aim isn't to teach the child not to throw. They're too young for that. My aim is to minimize the mess. If a child was really hungry, the child would be eating, not throwing.

You can help avoid the issue altogether, though, but offering only one or two bites at a time. It seems like if the portion offered is too large, they're more likely to throw, but if you only pass over a little bit at a time, they find it easier to stay focused on eating.

FWIW, though, I did tolerate food-throwing a lot more with my first. I had more time to clean up, then. The second time around, I had a toddler and twin infants and a serious chronic illness, and if I'd tolerated throwing, I would have spent my whole life cleaning the floor. But the twins learned consistently not to throw almost a whole YEAR before DD1 had learned not to, so I'm a big believer in my way, now.

Nothing wrong with tolerating the throwing though. They will grow past that phase all on their own with some encouragement. It really is just exploration. But I don't think there's anything wrong with cutting it short, either, and offering something less messy for gravity experiments.
post #12 of 23
The more you push it, the worse the fight will be. I suggest leaving it alone. Baby will grow out of the food throwing thing - part of being a toddler is emulating Mommy and Daddy, so if you and the rest of your family aren't throwing food on a regular basis, the baby won't either, once they get big enough to resist that impulse. I totally agree with the small amounts of food on the tray at any given time theory. Really seems to reduce the urge to throw it!

DD1 was a messy, messy eater as a baby. DD2 loves food and would never waste it! She's just turned 1 yo and she will pound the tray when she's done, or try to "clean up" by mashing it all into the tray. When DD2 throws her bowl, spoon, cup, whatever on the floor, it was usually an accident, but sometimes it's her "all done" cue.
post #13 of 23
We're talking about babies here. They throw food. Don't give them breakable dishes, or dishes at all, and just give them a tiny bit of food at a time. Of course they'll stop doing it without being "taught". They stop being babies and figure out how gravity works and where food works best.
post #14 of 23
How many 20 year olds would you say you know who throw food on the floor?
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
How many 20 year olds would you say you know who throw food on the floor?
I know. Break the habit? There's no habit of throwing food. It has nothing to do with being a habit. It's just a baby thing.
post #16 of 23
DD is 15 months and throws food. I tell her it goes in her mouth and if she keeps doing it I know she's done.
post #17 of 23
Well, throwing food in our house isn't quite as exciting, as the dog's reflexes are much quicker than ours. Well, he will not eat something if we tell him not to, but if DS throws food on the floor on purpose, I have been known to let natural consequences happen.
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by chfriend View Post
Pththtthth on once they start throwing food on the floor they'll never stop unless you teach them.

They do stop when they stop being babies. . .

Not every baby behavior needs to be curbed.
This.

Just work around it. Put a sheet under the highchair if you want to protect the floor. Don't give her dishes that are breakable (up until recently, my 16 mo only got a sippy--everything else went on the tray).

We found that one of our kids got overwhelmed if we put too much in front of her at once and she'd just sweep it to the floor. So we work in small amounts.
post #19 of 23
When my dd was little she would throw food when she was done eating and bored. At first I thought she was still hungry and that it was mean to have her be done, but then I started sitting with her to eat and I noticed that she was actually done very quickly and bored. Once I let her out of the highchair when she seemed done she stopped throwing food. She still played with the food as she ate it, but she didn't throw it away from her. I don't think it is something they will do all their life, but I do think you should follow your son's cues and not keep him cooped up in a highchair if he is doing this because he doesn't want the food anymore.
post #20 of 23
my DS is 21 months and still throws things around. we can usually see it coming though...toward the end of the meal when he is frustrated and finished.
we too pick things up a few times (if early on in the process enough) and then hold/hide them. we constantly remind him to put his cup/bowl/spoon/food on the table, not the floor and to say "no thank you" instead of just flinging aside something offensive. this is something that they all do and it will certainly pass. i think the best tactic is to simply remind them where things go but not to stress about where they actually end up.

and i have no idea what we would do without our dog. she makes clean-up SO much easier!
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