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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please help me! My 24 month old has gotten in the habit of taking his dinner plate and dumping it directly on the floor. We've tried removing the dinner (he then cries because he's hungry), removing him from the table and having him sit next to us in his booster seat with a tray instead of booster seat at the table (he still throws the food). We've tried having him clean it up with us. That one backfired...why? Because he now every time he throws his food he says "vacuum". He loves to vacuum...actually, he's OBSESSED with the vacuum and has to either help vacuum or watch someone vacuum every night. We've just determined that the reason he makes the mess at every meal is so that it gets vacuumed up. So now what do we do? How do we get him to stop dumping his food on purpose...it's not like we can just leave it on the floor so that he doesn't get the satisfaction of having the vacuum on (even in a different room, he loves the noise).

So, is there any way we can do this? We usually try to incorporate natural consequences....and the natural consequence of making a mess is having to help clean it up. But he loves to clean and that's WHY he's making the mess... What do we do??
 

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So, is there any way we can do this? We usually try to incorporate natural consequences....and the natural consequence of making a mess is having to help clean it up. But he loves to clean and that's WHY he's making the mess... What do we do??
It's a phase and it will pass. I'd simply offer only a bite or two at a time until he's able to control the impulse to throw food.
 

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This will probably start a debate but we ended the meal when food hit the floor. That was it. He was hungry once or twice (I started this after he was two- old enough to know better and with enough body fat to survive a single hungry night!) and he choose to stop.

At this point my son has the choice to eat was is served with appropriate manors (age appropriate) or play alone in his room. Either is fine but once you are down from the table you are down and we don't eat again until our next scheduled meal. I offer several choices (a protein, a veggie and a grain) at each meal. You must stay in your room so as not to disturb others who are choosing to still eat.

This is working well for everyone. We get to enjoy family dining without a battle or any horrid behavior. He gets to choose if he would like to eat or play. He sometimes chooses to eat nothing or very little but despite my fears, after the first time he never goes "hungry". He hasn't woken early because he was hungry or cried himself to sleep because he is hungry. He will ask for another meal but when I am firm he will go to bed. He does sometimes wake up and eat a bigger than usual breakfast if he opted to not eat much for dinner. My Ped says toddlers eat on average one big meal every 48 hours and basically snack all the rest of the time. I think that seems like my son.
 

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It's a phase. Give him lots of vacuuming time during the day. My son's current phase is to mix his drink with his food - before eating it. I didn't catch him in time today, and I had already finished my food, so he had a lunch of crackers and cheese. Without a drink.
 

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I'd say get a dog!!
If my kids throw food on the ground, it has a life span of about 3 seconds. Nothing to clean up and no getting it back.
They don't (didn't) throw the food until they were done!!
 

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Michelle - that's how dd learned too!

I would agree it is a phase. At that age though I don't think I would limit meals (food hits the deck, dinner over for the night). But I like the idea of only putting a bite or two on his plate at a time. Minimize the temptation. Maybe also give him something he can throw?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you everyone!


We have a dog...maybe we should let her in for meals (we have to keep her out of the room for meals because she has the table manners of a monster--she will actually try to get UP on the table. And she's 60 lbs)

I can't limit his food--he's only 24-25 lbs and has very little body fat. And then I pay the consequences of him being hungry because he'll just nurse all night. Not cool. LOL! But I think I really like the dog idea. And the idea of only putting a couple bites on his plate at a time! Thanks!!
 

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Oh oh....just thought of something.....you said he loves the vacuum? When food hits the floor, grab the broom....forget the vacuum....if he's truly doing it to get the vacuum to come out, maybe he'll stop if he sees he only gets a lousy broom to clean it up with .....hth and good luck...I have a similiar problem....our 22 month old loves to throw his food.....especially when he's mad....
 

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WHat has really helped my ds stop throwing food is for me to give him his meal and sit right next to him within arms length and eat also. I keep an eye on him out of the corner of my eye and as soon as he stops eating and starts to lift his plate. I stop him from throwing. I take the plate and set it on the table in front of me and remind him. "No throwing food" and then I ask him if he is still hungry and give the plate back to be eaten, but not thrown. I tell him "you may not have your food to throw." and "food is for eating"
Also because I was able to stop the food from actually being thrown, he was denied the payoff of the joy of throwing or cleaning. He stopped throwing shortly after that. (although the habit has recently started again occasionally, but not nearly as often)
Joline
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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Originally Posted by mykdsmomy
Oh oh....just thought of something.....you said he loves the vacuum? When food hits the floor, grab the broom....forget the vacuum....if he's truly doing it to get the vacuum to come out, maybe he'll stop if he sees he only gets a lousy broom to clean it up with .....hth and good luck...I have a similiar problem....our 22 month old loves to throw his food.....especially when he's mad....

LOL, he also has an affinity for the broom. And mop. And dishwasher. And sponge. He loves cleaning supplies...
I swear I don't know where he got that...it wasn't from me...

Tonight at dinner it was a little better--this time he only threw his cup and dessert down. He was mad when he didn't get to vacuum, but he did get to help clean it up with a dishrag, which he does not like at all...
 

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WHat has really helped my ds stop throwing food is for me to give him his meal and sit right next to him within arms length and eat also. I keep an eye on him out of the corner of my eye and as soon as he stops eating and starts to lift his plate.
Ds will dump his (usually full) plate when he's 'all done', and I've learned to be lightening quick and catch him just before the little hand reaches to toss it across the room. Nothing else has worked for us.
 

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Uh, why not just lose the plate and offer him bits of food instead?

We gave up giving our DD food when she was about 13 months or so. It just ended up on the floor. So instead we sat and ate our meals while she played and wandered around, and she would wander up to us and eat bites from our plates and then go play.

It was a win-win situation. We got to eat our meal in peice, and there was no mess to clean up. We did this for about a year, and slowly gave her foods to eat until she was obviously mature enough to handle food again.

Now she eats at the table, and food throwing is not an issue.
 

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I am cracking up about the whole vaccuum obsession! My son is the same way! Last Christmas, he got two toy vaccuums that both get a lot of use! Also, when he dumps his food he loves to help clean it up. I've tried saying, "Uh oh! We don't throw food on the floor! Now we'll have to clean it up!" to which he gleefully replies, "Okay! I need my broom!"


I will definitely remind him of this when he's a teenager and doesn't want to clean his room!


Sorry, no real advice....it's most likely just a phase, as other posters have pointed out. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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Originally Posted by Elastagirl
I am cracking up about the whole vaccuum obsession! My son is the same way! Last Christmas, he got two toy vaccuums that both get a lot of use! Also, when he dumps his food he loves to help clean it up. I've tried saying, "Uh oh! We don't throw food on the floor! Now we'll have to clean it up!" to which he gleefully replies, "Okay! I need my broom!"

That is exactly Brandon! (Well, except that he doesn't speak sentences...he just yells out "VACUUM!"
: ) How funny that there's another cleaning-obsessed kid out there!
 

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What you should do is get a large old sheet to put under were he set dont give him to much food at a time. Tell him if he throws his food he wont be alowed to use the vacuume, and when the meal is over if there is any food under him you just pick up the sheet and throw it in the wash.
 
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