My 17-month-old son is constantly throwing his food on the floor during meal times. He understands the word ‘no,‘ but he thinks it’s really funny and it seems like he’s testing me to see what I’ll do after he throws it. I know he’s still pretty young, but are there any strategies we can use to help encourage him not to do this?
Your son has talent. He has taught you a game called “Lets throw food on the floor”. It is a great game that many children enjoy. It has action and excitement. He has great fun with his mom.
If you are tired of the game, you can change it. You can teach him a new game called “Let’s eat the food”.
When he throws food on the floor, turn away from him. Don’t react at all. Don’t scold him. Just ignore him. If he eats some of his food, pay lots of attention to him, smile, talk to him. Be really positive and fun.
At first, he may increase his food throwing because he wants you to play the old game. Continue to ignore him. When all his food is gone, after a few minutes give him a second chance. Use the same methods as the first time. In this game there are only two chances. If he doesn’t eat, just wait for the next meal. Unless he is very underweight, missing a bit of food will do him no harm. This is not a punishment. It is just that you don’t want a lot of practice with the old game.
There are two other things you can consider:
- You may be giving him more food than he needs. Try and make sure you don’t put more food on his plate than he wants or needs.
- There may be too many distractions. Make sure there is no TV on during meals.
Your son is smart. He will learn the new game. If you are consistent, it may take a week. If you are inconsistent, it will take months.