Don’t Throw Food!

food, Svara

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but one habit that we are trying to break Svara from is throwing food.  She started throwing food off of her high chair back when we first started giving it to her.  I decided to ignore the behavior, hoping if it got no response from me, it would dwindle (worked for some things, like teeth grinding!).  But it didn’t.  Must have been too fun to throw!  So eventually we just tried to distract her from the behavior, like redirecting her hand if it went to throw food (but still not paying too much attention to the behavior).  But this didn’t work either!

Of course you are probably thinking, if she’s throwing her food she doesn’t want to eat anymore.  Sometimes this is true.  But often she still wants to eat…

So I decided to take a firmer hand.  If she threw her food I’d say “don’t throw food” or “no” and then take away the food.  Yeah, you guessed it, not working 😛  She’ll sometimes cry for the food, but I don’t give it back.  But next time it’s time to eat, she’ll do the same time.  And my baby still needs to eat!!  Often she’ll throw food, then I’ll take away the food (saying something like if you throw food, Mama will take it away) and put her down.  She’ll bend down, pick up the food she threw, and eat it! (such as her dry cereal, she of course won’t do this with food that she doesn’t like and just threw for fun).  Another thing she’ll do is put her hand out like she’s going to throw it, and then grin at me.  If I say “eat it!” she’ll sometimes it eat, or sometimes throw.  Or she’ll eat it, grab some more, and throw that!  And then laugh!  aarrgghhh!!!!  What do I do!!!

A good friend suggested the other day that “Don’t throw food” doesn’t work because they don’t hear the negative.  Which is true, I do the same thing in school.  Don’t tell the student’s “Don’t run!”.  Tell them “walk!” and they’ll be more likely to obey.  So same principle.  Okay…

So my goal now is to try not to say anything, or just say something like “I guess you’re done” and take the food away.  Not focus too much on the behavior.  I don’t know if it’ll work…

Oh, and sometimes she’ll be playing and ask for her dry cereal.  So I open the container, she takes a handful and immediately throws it on the floor!  What’s that about!  So I put it away and she asks for more and I say she can have some later.  She whines and then goes back to playing.  She thinks it’s a game 😛

If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears!!!


One thought on “Don’t Throw Food!

  1. It’s been a while since mine was throwing food, but I seem to remember that physically stopping her from doing it worked for us. I would just sit in front of or beside her and whenever her hand strayed beyond the reach of her tray I would gently grab her arm and move it back over her tray. Eventually, she got so sick of me moving her hands that she stopped trying to throw (or drop, as she usually did) food.

    I know it seems archaic and some may see it as a violation of personal space. But like I said, I was really gentle about it. Also, I found that doing it silently and not saying anything worked better. I wasn’t giving her any words to respond to, just a silent gentle movement of her hands.

    It’s a bit labor intensive and you have to be right there all the time, but it worked for me. Her food throwing/dropping phase only lasted a few weeks.

    Maybe that’s all what you meant by “redirecting her hands”. If so, then sorry for suggesting something you’ve already tried.

    I never attempted take food away, as I don’t think kids that age understand those types of consequences (as you’re seeing with her thinking it’s a game).

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