Throwing food. I can't take the mess anymore! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 11-04-2012, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is 18 months old, and a very messy eater, who unfortunately likes to throw food from her high chair tray. I don't know how to get her to stop this and I am tired of cleaning up the floor after every single meal. I've tried taking away her tray when she does it, but then she whines cause she's still hungry.
Any ideas on getting her to stop?

Ryan 08-28-08  & Julianna 5-3-11
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#2 of 13 Old 11-04-2012, 01:23 PM
 
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I need ideas too. My daughter is almost three and we still have food throwing issues! 

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#3 of 13 Old 11-04-2012, 01:52 PM
 
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Yeah, cleaning up messes is NOT fun.

 

Depending on what it is you are feeding, maybe only offer a little bit at a time, maybe even one piece at a time.  (works good with things like crackers, pieces of fruit, etc.)  If it goes on the floor, stop and take a break.  (I let them whine for a few minutes, so they can experience the consequence of losing the food, then ask if they're ready to try again, give 'em another chance.  If they blow it, then the food goes away).

 

Or "you can do it or I can do it" (if you can handle feeding yourself, you get to be in charge, if that's not working, then mama is in charge--this works better for some personalities than others)

 

Or temporarily feed relatively non-messy foods that you can live with the cleanup. 

 

Or redirect the throwing urge to more appropriate objects somehow.  (I kept a stack of plastic lids handy when my kid was going through an annoying throwing stuff on the floor phase and alternated between eating and throwing lids on the floor.  A little business, a little fun).

 

Or make the kid do the clean-up (works best if they're over 2 though).  If my son throws something on the floor--he gets to clean it up.  (He actually kind of likes doing it)
 

Consider purchasing a dog.  They're great at cleaning up food.

 

If all else fails, get a clear shower curtain, put it under the kid, and toss it in the washing machine once in awhile.

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#4 of 13 Old 11-05-2012, 11:24 AM
 
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What we have been doing is to just remind dd (15 months) "If your all done, hand it to Mama (or Daddy etc.)". Sometimes I get frustrated and show it and then it becomes an interesting social experiment and she tries to do it again to see how I will react. If I act calm and like she is well intentioned but just forgot she usually goes along with my wishes yk? Still a struggle though.
 

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#5 of 13 Old 11-05-2012, 11:32 AM
 
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The throwing food stage is awful and the one I hate the most! When DS1 was younger and throwing food it was so hard to clean up because we lived in a townhome where our kitchen table had a lot of carpet by it. Food was so hard to get out of that carpet!  DS2 is luckily out of that stage now at almost 2.  Not much advice, just some (((hugs))).


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#6 of 13 Old 11-05-2012, 01:45 PM
 
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My DD does this too and it's awful annoying.  (She's 14 months.)  We do two things which at least cut down on it:

 

1.  We have a little blanket under her high chair to catch the worst messes.  I intend to replace this with a plastic or oilcloth tablecloth as soon as I make it to the store and find one!

 

2.  The rule is, "You can feed yourself till you start throwing/dropping food.  After that Mommy feeds you like a little baby."  Since DD really really wants to be a big girl, this works pretty well.  She feeds herself for most of the meal (long enough for me to get some food in!), then gets bored.  I'm working on teaching her to sign/say "down," or "peekaboo" (that's our feed-her-while-she-runs-around game, "peekaboo food,") and it seems to be working.  After that I hand feed her--she usually plays and comes back for a bite now and then, so I can eat the rest of my meal in relative peace.

 

It's a little annoying that she won't feed herself till she's full, but whatever...I'll take a little bit of peekaboo food over endless carpet mess any day.  Also, sometimes if she's not feeling good she likes to be babied--this way she knows she can just point down and then sit on my lap and be handfed the rest of her meal.

 

Good luck!


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#7 of 13 Old 11-05-2012, 02:00 PM
 
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We offered small amounts at a time (less temptation to fling) and we had friends who put a shower curtain under their high chair and would just hose/rinse it off after meals.  Eventually (around 24 months) we would remove his plate and say "you must be done since you're throwing your food, you can eat again at snack time"--this meant he got the message that throwing meant the meal was over and we all got a reminder that he would get to eat again in a couple of hours (or even an hour if he was truly hungry then).  


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#8 of 13 Old 11-05-2012, 04:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boater View Post

What we have been doing is to just remind dd (15 months) "If your all done, hand it to Mama (or Daddy etc.)". Sometimes I get frustrated and show it and then it becomes an interesting social experiment and she tries to do it again to see how I will react. If I act calm and like she is well intentioned but just forgot she usually goes along with my wishes yk? Still a struggle though.
 

 

When we were in this phase, this was my method, too - "You can put it in my hand, or in the cupholder."  Then I'd just try really hard to intercept everything and redirect the food to the right spot.  There was a hairy point at every meal where she was suddenly done and would start throwing everything off her tray all of a sudden.  I'd try to catch her right at the beginning of this and say "Hands in the air!!!!!" and whip her tray away before she could do any more damage.  And now, at 2.5, if she deliberately throws food on the floor, she must stop eating and clean it up.  If it happens more than two or three times, the meal is over.  At this age, if she's actually hungry she's well-mannered enough to just eat.

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#9 of 13 Old 11-05-2012, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She actually knows the signs for more and all done. I just wish she would use them more instead of throwing. But sometimes she's so fast at throwing that I don't react within enough time. I'll have to try some of your suggestions. I really wish I knew how much she understood. Glad to know I am not alone. My son never really got into this phase. He was a much better eater at this age than she is.

Ryan 08-28-08  & Julianna 5-3-11
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#10 of 13 Old 11-05-2012, 07:09 PM
 
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We did the same technique as boater starting at 12-13 months. Now at 16 months she great about handing it to us... Unless she's all done, then she sometimes throws one thing versus signing "all done".
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#11 of 13 Old 11-06-2012, 11:06 AM
 
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What about tips for spilling water/juice/milk? DD (26mo) always spills her drink on her tray but we keep trying to no avail... any suggestions? I really want her to drink what I give her. Taking it away doesnt help since she is always OK with that. Its soooo frustrating.

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#12 of 13 Old 11-07-2012, 11:37 AM
 
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My son was being a terror, throwing food.  So I started putting him outside if he threw food (after telling him "no, don't throw food") so I didn't have to clean up the mass.  Needless to say, he got bored really fast, seeing the rest of us eating inside, and now he doesn't do it as much anymore.  Hope that helps, although what works for one mom doesn't always translate into success for another!

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#13 of 13 Old 11-10-2012, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So tonight I tried sitting her in the kitchen chair versus the high chair and she ate the rest of her meal and didnt throw anything on the floor. Maybe I need to install the booster and let her eat at the table.

Ryan 08-28-08  & Julianna 5-3-11
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