HomeHealthHow To Get Toddler To Stop Throwing Food?: Simple And Effectives Tips

How To Get Toddler To Stop Throwing Food?: Simple And Effectives Tips

It’s a familiar scene for many parents – you serve a delicious meal for your toddler, only to end up on the floor instead of in their mouth. The frustration of dealing with a food-throwing toddler is real, but rest assured, there are strategies to help curb this behavior.

I’ll delve into How To Get Toddlers To Stop Throwing Food. From understanding why toddlers engage in this behavior to practical tips for encouraging better mealtime manners, I’ve got you covered. Say goodbye to food-covered floors and hello to more peaceful mealtimes!

Why do Toddlers Throw Food on the Floor?

During the toddler stage of development, children aged 1 to 2 walk around independently, exhibit more oppositional behavior, and are more interested in exploring everything and everyone around them.

Children are increasingly conscious of their desires and preferences at this age. Toddlers still don’t fully understand cause and consequence at this age, but they’re starting to realize they can influence their parents and caregivers through various behaviors.

Toddlers crave more autonomy and independence between the ages of 2 and 3. This is when power disputes may truly become an issue! (I learned this the hard way with my oldest child).

Tantrums, fussy eating, resistance to clean up, refusal to try new things, and food hurling are all possible outcomes when disobedience, mobility, and the desire to be autonomous are combined. There are several reasons why your toddler throws food on the floor, including:

Picky eating

Picky or fussy eating is one of the most prevalent causes of eating disorders.

In a study of parents looking for online help for their picky eater, 28.5% reported eating habits included pushing the plate away, spitting out food, and dumping undesirable food on the ground.

Need more food.

A stubborn and independent child who is not hungry may believe that tossing food is the best way to express their dislike for eating.


Let’s face it. Throwing food may be enjoyable for children not disturbed by the mess. As toddlers become increasingly interested in the objects around them, they like investigating and manipulating them. Food may be just another toy for them.


Young children can only sit patiently for a short time. Following that, people are bound to become agitated and frustrated.

Independent and mobile children may dislike being confined to a high chair or booster, especially after eating. Playing with food keeps kids entertained at mealtimes. Alternatively, scraping the food off the tray is your toddler’s way of alerting you they want to get down now.

Seeking attention.

Sometimes, newborns and toddlers want our attention, and throwing food is one way to get it. Often, this conduct elicits a reaction from a parent or caregiver, which they enjoy – even if they are ordered to stop doing it!

Too much food on their plate.

The amount of food offered to many young children might be overwhelming. When they don’t know what to do with everything, they do their best to clear some space.

Refrain from enjoying the food.

This is particularly common with toddlers, who rapidly communicate their ideas. When toddlers dislike a certain meal, it is generally their main priority to remove it from their plate.

They are frustrated.

Babies and toddlers struggle with eating! When food is difficult to eat because they cannot pick it up, hold it, or chew it properly, they may feel angry and throw it on the ground.

How To Get Toddlers to Stop Throwing Food?

Begin with less food.

Offer a tiny bit of food to begin. Babies and toddlers often find this more manageable, and it is simple to offer them more if they request it. Plus, if kids continue to shove or dump food on the floor, there will be less cleanup.

Remain calm.

Babies and toddlers enjoy seeing their parents react, especially if it is to something they are not meant to be doing. So do your best not to react and be calm. If your child realizes they are not going to get a huge reaction from you, the behavior of throwing food will normally stop.

Use the “no thank you” dish.

Set out a “no thank you” bowl for picky toddlers to put their unwanted food. Encourage children to place food in the bowl rather than flinging it. Picking up and moving the food counts as food exposure. Thus, it’s a gain even if they don’t eat it.

Designate a location for cups and utensils.

Toddlers enjoy throwing more than just food; cups and cutlery are frequently found on the floor. Verbally reinforce their place on the table and assign them a precise location to return them to. Put a sticker or painter’s tape where they want to put the cup or utensil after finishing it.

Teach your child to say, “All done.”

When newborns and toddlers finish their meals, they often start tossing food. To combat this, consider educating them on another approach. Try baby sign language, or if they can speak, teach them the phrase “all done.”

Allow them to leave the table.

Babies and toddlers have very short attention spans, so expecting them to sit through an entire meal may be impossible. Allow babies and toddlers to get out of the highchair after eating. The longer they wait after they believe they are finished, the more likely they will begin tossing food. how to get toddler to stop throwing food

Ensure they are hungry.

If your child is not hungry at mealtime, they typically seek alternative activities, such as throwing food! Change your feeding schedule so they arrive hungry at the table if necessary. Allow 30-60 minutes after feeding babies breast milk or formula. Ensure toddlers have had at least two to three hours since their last meal or snack.

Change the size, shape, or texture of the food.

Check the food you’re serving to ensure it suits your infant or toddler’s feeding abilities. Eating is a new skill, and they may only be willing to practice it if it becomes manageable. Make sure the food is the proper size and has a soft texture that they can chew.

Use positive wording.

Words may be powerful when it comes to children. When kids throw food, keep things positive and tell them what you want them to do rather than what they should not do. For example, say, “food belongs on the table” rather than “no, don’t throw food.”

Sit together at mealtime.

Give your baby or toddler your full attention while you eat together at meals. This allows you to intervene and stop it dead in its tracks. Is the baby having problems picking up food? Adjust the size. Does your toddler dislike a particular food? Tell them they don’t have to eat it. how to get toddler to stop throwing food

Play food games (without throwing)

I encourage parents to have family dinners free of distractions and to teach their children to enjoy their food and interact with others at mealtimes. But, as a single mother of three, I know from experience that mealtime expectations must be age-appropriate.

Food play activities, such as counting or sorting games with food or playing peek-a-boo behind the bread, can help toddlers stay engaged during meals and raise their comfort level and curiosity about new foods. This increases the chances that picky eaters may accept new foods as well.

Shortening Meal Time

Many toddlers hurl food because they are bored and want to move on from their meals. Often, parents believe that children must sit for 20-30 minutes during mealtime. That’s just too lengthy for many busy toddlers. how to get toddler to stop throwing food

An acceptable expectation for your child to sit during a meal is 1-2 minutes each year of age. This surprises many parents. An active toddler who doesn’t want to do anything but play will eat for one minute before beginning to play, which is typically throwing.

To prevent your toddler from flinging food, make meals last 1-2 minutes (per year of age). Allow your youngster to get down as soon as they finish their meal. This implies you must have their meal diced up and ready to serve on their tray or dish. It also means you should not pressure them to consume more because the next phase will be to throw away the food they don’t want to eat. how to get toddler to stop throwing food

When do toddlers stop throwing food?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), by 18 to 24 months, your child should be able to follow the rules. Mention your rule: “Food stays on the table (or tray).” And if your toddler keeps throwing food on the floor, simply remark, “I see you’re all done,” and finish the meal.

Final Words

Encouraging positive mealtime behaviors in toddlers, such as avoiding food throwing, requires patience and consistency. By implementing strategies like setting clear expectations, offering engaging alternatives, and providing positive reinforcement, parents can help their toddlers develop better eating habits. Remember, meal times should be a positive and enjoyable experience for children and parents. With a little guidance and understanding, you can help your toddler transition from food-throwing to more respectful mealtime behaviors.







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