A Quick Cry for Help to my Book-Lovin’ Friends

June 17, 2008 at 11:27 am | Posted in M'ijo | 19 Comments

Are there any toddler books in the genre of “Hands are not for Hitting” except focusing on FOOD IS NOT FOR THROWING! Especially not when the house is being invaded by ants?!?

I have searched on amazon and come up dry.

(No it doesn’t mean he’s done eating. It doesn’t even always mean he doesn’t like the food in question. Yes, we try taking him out of the chair. He just loves to THROW.)

Recommendations for “how-to-keep-your-toddler-from-driving-you-nuts” books would also be greatly appreciated.


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  1. When Ally did this we just ended her meal right then and there. She got nothing till the next meal.

    WAY easier said then done though especially since Ally was Failure to Thrive until she was over 2.

    It worked though. I’d say within a week she had stopped throwing food.

  2. 1, 2, 3, Magic – MOST excellent book.

    And um, re: food – ditto on the “you throw, we are done.

    And as P’ito and Malka are on the same, er, “healthy and strong” end of the spectrum, ending a meal before finishing won’t hurt ‘um. 😉

  3. I found this (and you many have already) – http://www.parentingpress.com/t_990814.html

  4. i’ve resigned myself to a thorough floor cleaning after every meal.

    i’ll pick the battle of kicking the cat or playing “bak-et-BAWL” in the living room first (even with the ant problem which we have as well.) seems to me that throwing food is just part of testing us. we just tell him we don’t like it and don’t put too much energy in that direction.

    will certainly check pam’s link though!

  5. First I tried the “Scream like a crazy woman” method but Sabrina wasn’t impressed by that. She tended to find it rather funny.

    Now, meals end if she throws food (sometimes on accident she will knock a bite on the floor – she gets 1 mistake if it was an accident). Once food hits the floor, her tray is gone and the meal is over. It has really cut down on the behavior unless she really hates what we’ve given her. Then she does it on purpose because she knows she won’t have to eat it.

  6. give him something else to throw?

  7. You could make one. It’s quite easy with a digital camera and powerpoint. And he would LOVE being the star. This particular issue may not be enough to warrant the time & effort, but making your own books is a great way to teach social skills.

  8. I take away the food. Sometimes I make them eat it at the next meal, if there’s enough left.

    It hasn’t helped at all yet, but I keep trying.

    And if you find that “how to keep your toddler from driving you crazy” book, let me know, because I’m about an inch away from going completely around the bend.

  9. Hmm…I can’t think of any books on the subject, but I can tell you that this too shall pass, although it’ll take longer to pass if Pepito figures out how big a button it is for you :). buttons, they love to push!

    In hindsight, one big advantage of Curious Girl’s feeding tube was that we missed this particular annoying habit, as she couldn’t swallow when she was Pepito’s age. I wonder, though, whether you could get him throwing a bunch of stuff before a meal in an attempt to work out his throwingness before eating? Might be worth a shot. I always found it tough to detangle what was actually teachable (in terms of consequences, patterns, etc.) and what was just something I had to wait out. (in fact, I still have trouble with that, it’s just different issues at older ages.) So in lieu of actual helpful advice, I send much sympathy.

  10. Dinner in the bathtub? No idea–I don’t have children who throw food. They are angels on the highest cloud–who, instead of throwing food, surreptitiously feed it to the dogs that wait patiently under their chairs…

  11. We, too, are those if you throw then dinner is over parents. However, we try to keep him seated with us while we finish. He may be done eating but right now we all stay seated until everyone is done. Harsh?

    We sometimes allow for one or two things to drop to the floor because it turns into feeding the dogs which we do with his leftovers anyway. However, if he asks for more, we simply tell him that he fed all his food to the dogs and then he stops. But food throwing is definitely not tolerated.

    I definitely love the book with P’ito starring in it! I may have to try that.

    I have a list of books that I have been meaning to check out from the library, so I will let you know if anything proves to be helpful.

  12. Deliberate thrown or dropped food ended the meal at our house too.

  13. As I said before, we didn’t actually have a kid who could eat during the throwing phase, but I’ve been reluctant to go to the X behavior ends the meal phase at our house b/c we were also training sitting at the table for the meal and socializing. I didn’t want to let CG be in charge of when she got to get down from the table. So it’s a tricky thing to balance. (Not that I think the folks here who are saying the meal is over are not also interested in family dinners! Just to be clear. Just saying that I find table behaviors complicated to regulate and train, or that I always coupled sitting-up incentives with eating calmly incentives. We had toys that only got played with in the high chair, for example, once she was done with her food.)

  14. There is a book called NO NO Yes Yes by Leslie Patricelli that we bought becasue it shows NO NO don’t pull the cat’s tail, Yes Yes pat the cat gently. It pcitures bad behavious as NO NO and good behavior for the same topic as Yes Yes. There is a picture about food and toilets, and holding parent’s hands etc.
    We too have the throwing thing but Ally sually gives us a warning of Bye. bye Bye and if we’re not quick enough its thrown, but she does usually warn us that she is done with it!
    Good Luck

  15. I didn’t have any food throwing with my three cherubs but my sister-in-law did with her youngest. The first thing she learned is never to laugh or act as if throwing food is cute. The second was to remove all food as soon as he initiated throwing. It didn’t matter if he was still hungry; mealtime was over until the next meal. The non-food-throwers were given delicious desserts and the thrower got to watch them enjoy it. There was no yelling or lecturing. She just told him that desserts were for people who didn’t throw food. Those tactics nipped the food throwing right in the bud.

  16. Have you read the “Happiest Toddler on the Block?” I just finished reading the baby version and I am waiting for the next edition of the toddler version to arrive next month. I have no idea what he talks about, but I have had it recommended to me by many, many people.

    Super-Nanny (the doyenne of all things children, right?) would say to end the meal the second he throws the food and keep that up until he gets the picture. It sounds like it would be very effective, but wrenching to enforce.

  17. You don’t need a book, you need a dog.

    Seriously, if he’s throwing his food he’s probably not hungry any more. A toddler’s stomach is roughly the size of their fist. It doesn’t take too much to fill them up.

  18. I like the “Happiest toddler on the block” by Karp, and “The Emotional Life of the Toddler” by Lieberman. I am a child care teacher and not a parent, but both of these books are written for parents… good luck.

  19. Also an option if you’re concerned about your kid getting enough or want to keep him at the table is to feed them if they start throwing food. He’s old enough to understand that if he wants to feed himself, he needs to use table manners. You just need to make your expectations very clear and then follow through.

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