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Wasting food problem.

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

When DS is angry or doesn't get what he wants and there is food around, he will throw the food on the floor.  Today he brought my DH a banana to peel.  DH handed him the peeled banana and he dropped it on the floor.  Then he went and asked his great Aunt for some cookies.  She gave him a cookie and he dropped it on the floor also.  What ideas do you have to discipline him so that he will learn not to throw food on the floor?  My DS is 33 months old.  He does this at meal times also.  Suddenly, he will be upset and drop bread on the floor or throw spaghetti on the floor.  This morning he was eating a plum and became upset about his underwear and threw the plum down the hall.  

 

We want to teach him that we don't waste food and that we work hard for it, even if it is a banana.  Any suggestions?

post #2 of 6

I would keep his eating to a tiled and clean area of the house, like the kitchen until he out grows this phase, then hand him a wet sponge and get him to clean up the mess it makes, pick up the offending food and either brush it off and eat it (remember the clean floor part) or store it.  You can save fruit for cakes and muffins or popsicles.  Actually blitzed stale cookies with a nob of butter make a perfect crust for a cheesecake. :)

 

I have to tell you though that unless my floor was covered in mud or poo I would just pick up and eat most things right in front him to A) let him know you do not care and B) show him what happens when he throws his food away (he loses it).  Not spaghetti, but then I if he's eating over a drop cloth or in the kitchen, I'd just take away his bowl and assume he was done. I don't think my floors are that dirty.  If it left a stain I would hand him the sponge and get him to clean up the mess.  He's almost 3.  He should be able to help clean up his own messes by now.

 

The root of this is giving him another outlet for his anger.  You might say as you clean up "We don't throw food, we throw...."  Stuffed animals?  Feathers?  bean bags in the clown's mouth...something else. and then empathize...."wow, DS is really upset.  Do you want a hug?"

post #3 of 6

Sounds to me like throwing food on the floor gets a reaction from you. 

 

This isn't exactly the same, but maybe you can see my point.

 

I had a friend whose little girl would throw her bowl on the floor when she wanted to get down.  Every time (I am SO consistent, the mom complained) she was put in time out for 2 minutes, then allowed to go play.  I pointed out that it worked.  She was punished for throwing her bowl, but she knew (thanks to Mom's consistency) that she would serve her 2 minutes and then run off to play.  The trade off was worth it to her.  I suggested that when she threw the bowl, Mom put it back on the high chair, and told the little girl to say, "Down please."  And repeat it until effort (not perfection) was made at a verbal request to get down.  She had taught her little girl that throwing her bowl on the floor was the way to get down.  She had to teach her what TO do to replace that behavior. 

 

Whenever I have a continuing behavior with my kids, and I feel like I've addressed it up and down, but it won't go away, I just sit and think about what I am doing to CAUSE them to behave that way.  Something I am doing is teaching them to respond that way, in spite of all my instruction. 

 

So, does the world stop while you clean up the mess?  Does he get one on one attention (even negative) after he throws food?  Do all the grownups stop talking and look at him?  Do you give in to what he wanted?  Or do you give him something else?  Because if you do, he is simply paying for something, anything (not even necessarily what he wanted) by throwing food down and getting a lecture or whatever. 

 

So, I would:

 

1.) Not give him a rise at all for that behavior.

2.) Hardly look his direction as I say, "Go pick that up."  "Or, get a washcloth and wipe the floor."

3.) After the next offense, tell him that food will only be allowed at the table.

4.) Even if he throws his food on the floor, he will not be excused until I am done eating.  And then he can clean it up before he goes to play.  I would calmly sit and eat and ignore him.  Except to say, "Remember, there will not be any more food until breakfast.  And you will clean up your messes."

 

I am also a big fan of redoing a scenerio.  So, he got mad about his underwear and threw the plum.  Fine.  We go get the plum, and I give it back to him.  "Mama, please help me with my underwear."  "Mama, may I please wear the other color".  Whatever.  So, we repeat the scenerio UNTIL he does it nicely and not grudging.  And without throwing the plum.  Yes, it can get exhausting.  But I'd rather deal with it for 3 hours this morning than for the next 6 months.  It's less stressful for everyone that way.  He can get what he wants...and I can, too.

 

 He's not quite 3, I know.  But I have a 33mo old (and 2 older, and 1 younger), and she is totally capable of getting a washcloth out of the drawer, taking it to the bathroom to get it wet, and cleaning up a mess.  And she is totally capable on not throwing stuff when she is angry.  :)

post #4 of 6

He probably is old enough to clean up messes he makes, but I think I'd just give him a bite or two at a time until he gets through this stage.

post #5 of 6

I tend to ignore everything when kids get into these fits.  That means that plum down the hall stays where it is and I move on and simply deal with the verbal communication.  Like it never happened.  I will not walk into a clean up scenario because in my eyes that's another battle waiting to happen, and a complete distraction from the issue at hand.  I reserve clean up for accidents or when I see that it is truly *just* laziness or an accident.  If it is connected in any way to a different issue, I let it go.  I will not lose focus.  If it is just laziness/accident I'll say something like "Quick, quick! [if it's a liquid] Let's go get a rag/broom/dust pan!" and help them.  (The rags are in a bottom drawer in the kitchen.)

 

One issue at a time...

 

Sounds like this kid needs to have all his food at the kitchen table and no where else until this issue diffuses itself.  As far as the food at the kitchen table, if it is an ongoing issue I would probably also refuse to engage him and see what happens.  If that doesn't resolve it, I would engage him *before* he even sits down and gets food on his plate exactly what he can say if he wants to be excused.  Then give him a tiny portion on his plate.

post #6 of 6

It seems like normal behavior to me. Both my kids went through it.

 

DS was stuck there for awhile, and was a little older than his sister was when she went through it. He has Ds, so I think development was part of the issue too.

 

I handled it by being vigilant at meal times. When I saw him loosing interest (or what ever it is that proceeds the throwing) I would verbally ask him if he was done, make the sign for done and take his bowl or bit of food away before he had a chance to toss it. I would also tell him to leave the food on the tray/plate/bowl/table if he was all done or ask him to give it to me.

 

I did not make a huge deal of it, I do not think the food throwing was something intentional, like it would be if your 7 year old was doing it. i saw it as part of the learning process, not something that needed to be disciplined out of him.

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