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Toddler throwing food/tray!

972 Views 20 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  scorpioqueen
Please help me, I think I'm going to go crazy! My DD (14 months) has been throwing food for a long time. We have tried giving her only a few bites at a time, but that isn't working. She can ask for "more" now. Then, she suddenly remembers that she can get the tray off, and to the floor it goes
. There doesn't even have to be food ON it. Last night we put her in the HC and pulled it up to the table w/o the tray (can you tell I'm REALLY sick of the tray tossing!!!). She ate her supper, and seemed to enjoy being at the table, but b/c there was nothing to throw, she started "dropping" her cup/spoon, ect. She knows she isn't supposed to do this. She says "Uh-oh" and "no" when she does it??? I don't like using that word, but it is a NO! Any suggestions? DH is fed up too (more than me). Our kitchen floor is embarassing
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Maybe get one of those splat mats for the floor for easy clean up?

When my baby starts to throw food/play at the table/experiment with gravity, that's usually a sign to me that he is DONE!
TOTALLY normal at that age. I agree - splat mat saved my floor. I just never made too big a deal about the food throwing and the phase passed pretty fast.
Splat mats don't hurt but I also associated food/utensil dropping to you are saying you are done. Pick it up once then say oh you must be done then pull her out and clean her up.
My son was such a messy eater! I promise this phase will be over soon, although it certainly doesn't feel like it. Instead of a splat mat, I would suggest using an old sheet. We would put it under the high chair, all spread out, before breakfast and kind of fold the edges up closer to the chair after eating and then just spread it back out for lunch and dinner. Then you can just throw it in the wash at night. I found it MUCH easier than having to hand clean a plastic mat 3-4 times a day. Plus, starting when my son was about your daughter's age, he had to pick up some of the stuff he threw after each meal. I would hold a paper towel in my hand and he would pick up the peas, etc. I didn't approach it as a punishment, just "this is messy, we have to clean it up."

Have you ever read the book "Playful Parenting" by Cohen? It's kind of fun to drop something and say uh-oh and see the reaction you can get out of people. I would try fitting in a lot of "play" dropping of cups, plates, etc. in between meals. Get real involved yourself, drop lots of stuff and let her say "no" and "uh-oh" to you, and then be really exagerrated and goofy doing it back to her. Just don't do the playing at your actual table! I have found that this concept works really well with my ds in a lot of areas.
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It really does end, it just seems like they are in that phase FOREVER! Good luck!
I am happy to hear that this is normal for the age - i have a 13 mo ds who pretty much throws everything food and otherwise - sometimes I think he needs to throw food before he eats it to prove it exists or something -

no suggestions - just commiseration!
This was also an issue in our home. I had to try different things, but this worked for us...........We sing All Done in a melodic tune I taught her the hand sign for all done (flat hand~cross your other hand open over this one while closing your fingers) I also only give very small amounts of food to begin with. The sheet works great! Much better than the mat IMO
I thouht it was easier to clean. Hope this helps!
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Another splat mat idea is to use the plastic wrapping from drycleaning if you have them. That's what we did so I just tossed them after each meal.
Oh yeah, this is totally normal. I'm a bit concerned, however, that your child can take the tray off the high chair. There is no way DD could have removed hers on her own. I'm not sure your chair is safe if such a young baby can remove the tray!

We used to put a paint drop cloth under DD's high chair when she was that age. Too much throwing meant she was done eating, so we removed the food AND let her down to play.

By the time DD was 15 months she was no longer using her high chair. We fed her from our own plates, and she was only allowed to touch finger food that wasn't messy (carrot sticks, etc). As she's gotten older, she's better able to handle more foods, and she hasn't thrown food in ages and the mess she makes when trying to feed herself with a spoon is quite impressive, lol! but that's another stage....
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like everybody else, we consider dropping food and utensils on the floor to mean he is done eating and starting to play. it is very frustrating though!!! ds is just about the same age, so i'm right there with you!!!

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Thanks for the replies. My DH and I were also concerned b/c she can get the tray off. We are always there, but it makes us both nervous. We can't answer the phone or door with her in it b/c she might take the tray off and try to get out. I think I am going to look at booster seats today. She seems to like eating at the table much better than in the high chair. Maybe she's just too big now? I think I have a few extra sheets, so those will be pulled out tomorrow and spread on the floor under her. Most of you commented that if you DC threw food or dropped something that he/she was considered done. Was you DC still hungry, and you put them down temporarily to say :food throwing = done eating: or was your child truely done eating and wanting to play? Most of the time my DD is still eating/seems hungry.
Splat mats don't hurt but I also associated food/utensil dropping to you are saying you are done. Pick it up once then say oh you must be done then pull her out and clean her up.
We bought a Kinderzeat for ds when he was about 15 months old. Now to be sure, it was expensive, but it's beautiful, functional and will last forever. I justified buying it since we will be able to use it for multiple kids. It works much better for him than his booster seat and he uses it all the time.
maybe he was the first time (but i often offer fruit, milk, or cracker -- ok, and sometimes ice cream or yogurt sometime later in the evening), but i think now he has learned that if i have to pick stuff up twice, then the third time will mean no more food so he does not play until he is done.
If they are still hungry, you can always feed them from your own plate while they play around you. I don't believe in restricting food from a child as punishment, but certainly taking the food away from his hands, but still allowing him to eat (by you feeding him mouthfuls) would work.

With my DD, throwing always meant she was done, lol.
If they are still hungry put him back into the high chair and try again.

say something like

"Oh, you are still hungry? Back in the chair/lap you go". He start throwing food you say something like "You are throwing food you must be done eating."
i didn't mean "no more food" after a third pick up as punishment. i mean it as in he has indicated that he does not want more food, which i believe is true. for my son, me feeding him mouthfuls often does not work because he really wants to feed himself. so, for us, i feel that explaining what his actions tell us (you are done if you are playing) works well and is not punitive.
thanks for this thread! i was just coming to ask this same question...among other things
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We have a 12m old also and we always let her know (using the same words) "If you make food go on the floor, then you're all done". We also have a sign for "all done" and we use it when we say it. She seems to understand this and if she starts to swipe food off the table, or intentionally drop stuff, we say "It looks like you're all done!" If she's REALLY done, she'll do the sign. If she needs to eat more, she'll just give us that "I just got caught" smile and start eating again.

A few times we've taken her out of her high chair and told her "We'll try eating again later". 'Later' is usually a minute or 2. But she understands what we want her to do when we have sit her down to eat again.
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