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Thread: Throwing (food, toys, you name it!)

  1. #1
    Melinda Guest

    Thumbs down Throwing (food, toys, you name it!)

    Does anyone else have a toddler who throws everything in sight? We do!! Lord alone knows where he has got that from.....not us!

    I'm after some suggestions as to what we can try to minimise this.

    If he throws toys, we normally tell him that if he throws it once more, the toy will be taken away and that he won't have it for the rest of the day, and then of course when it happens, we follow through. The only problem is, he often then moves onto other toys and we end up removing virtually every toy which results in huge tantrums as a result of boredom, and that means we need to give him time out in the playpen which has nothing in it (our strategy for dealing with tantrums so that he's in a place where he can't hurt himself during the tantrum and has someone to calm down). The reason we remove the toys if he throws them is that he could accidentally hurt someone by throwing something, or hurt himself........99% of the time he is just doing it, i.e. it is not malicious. But 1% of the time he will do it as a reaction to when he has been asked to stop doing something else etc and it's like he's trying to work out what we'll do about it....

    If he throws food, we automatically remove all food from his high chair, clean up the mess he's made (on the floor, of himself etc!) and get him out of the high chair whilst trying to remain calm and not making a big fuss (this can be easier said than done at times!). We figure that if he throws the food, his plate (and it's contents) etc then he obviously isn't hungry and can therefore wait until the next meal/snack time for food (considering it's only a matter of say 2 - 3 hours max, not next week!). However, having said all that, he STILL does it and will often do it if we say go to my Mum's house for dinner. He will upend his plate and pitch it across the room and screech and carry on like nobody's business. The only thing I can think to do when he does this when we are out, is to clean him up as we would normally do, with minimal fuss and if he cracks tanties, then we leave and offer him something to eat at the appropriate next meal/snack time and start all over again.



    How do we tackle this? We've tried adopting the same strategies and being consistent with it, but then he starts going on half an hour later about wanting a biscuit! (We have a 2 biscuit a day rule in our house and it must be after he's had his meal or morning/afternoon tea so that he fills up on the healthy things first). Lately it's been hard to tolerate because we've all been so unwell......

    Do we stick with just removing the food and standing to our 'rules' that he can't have something to eat until the next meal time and put up with the subsequent tantrums? Distraction only works very briefly I might add.

    Any tips would be most welcome!

  2. #2
    angelfish Guest

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    We have had some success with redirecting and drilling practices. If George throws something, we have a little conversation like
    me - do we throw books?
    him - no
    me - what do we throw
    him - balls!
    me - would you like to go outside and play with the ball, or would you like to read the book?

    Sometimes we do a drill where we practice 10 times. eg he throws his plate on the floor, so I say "that's not what we do when we're ready to leave the table" then we practice saying "may I leave the table", and taking the plate over to the kitchen bench.

    For serious, repetitive, dangerous etc behaviour we pretty much do what you do, although we tend to remove him rather than the food. I usually say something like "that behaviour is telling me that you've decided not to eat lunch" and take him out of the room.

    To be honest, it sounds like your strategies are good, it might just take a bit longer for it to sink in. I'd continue being firm with him - you don't want him to be throwing things at his sister when she arrives - and just remember that children won't starve themselves by missing meals and not getting biscuits!

  3. #3

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    Mel,
    I really dont have any tips...
    Does Jacob have a ball, one he can throw outside? maybe if he throws things get down (as best you can with a baby belly) Tell him we dont throw etc, then take him outside & tell him he can throw this ball outside, but we dont throw stuff inside or something similar??? Would that work or would that just confuse him, about what he can & cant throw & where etc?
    I used to just remove the food if Maddy had thrown it & did as you say tidy her up & let her out of the high chair & let her go play, but then tell her she couldnt have a biscuit or her meal now as she had thrown it & right now was not meal time... She only threw it about 6 or so times so it wasnt too bad...
    I really dont know..but hopefully someone else has an answer for you...

    Good Luck sweets your doing an amazing job!

  4. #4

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    Aidyn went through the throwing stage too... mainly just his toys. But it becomes very annoying when he's throwing his die-cast trains around - they are capable of hurting someone, or going through the TV screen!
    I actually adopted your technique (which I saw you wrote in an earlier post) about giving him one more chance, then removing the toy.
    I find that as soon as we tell him not to throw, or get cross, he will throw more straight away, obviously a reaction of frustration.
    I usually then try to move him onto a different activity, such as drawing, or musical instruments etc, until I find one that will distract him!

    As for the throwing of food... I really cannot help you there.
    I find Aidyn gets a lot crankier, and a lot less interested in his food if...
    1. We strap him in the highchair.
    2. We feed him at a different time to us.
    3. He is eating something different from us.
    He doesn't usually throw his food though... (yet!)
    I don't know what to suggest... but I'm sure it is something that Jacob will grow out of.

    I noticed that around the 2 year age mark, Aidyns throwing habits decreased by about 50% (this was when his sleeping/settling improved too), and a few months later than that he now does it even less! So hang in there Mel, I hope things calm down a bit really soon.

  5. #5

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    Mel,

    With the food throwing thing....like Ambah has suggested, Olivia was a horror for this if simply left in the high-chair, not eating at the same time or same food as us.....it was as if the throwing food thing was her only way of telling us she was more than ready to go to sitting at the table with us.

    It was painful to start with, but after only a few days the food throwing stopped totally and she ate SO much better. I had her propped on 2 old pillows on a dining chair, and simply sat and ate every meal with her........tedious, but effective.......and it also meant that she got the hang of self feeding really quickly too.......

    Not sure if that is any help at all?

  6. #6
    Melinda Guest

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    Isabel - I think at this stage, the drill technique may not work with Jacob. He is about a year younger than your little one, George, so his communication skills would not be as good (i.e. I wouldn't be able to have that kind of conversation with Jacob at this stage). I will definitely keep what you have said in mind though, for when he can communicate more effectively and we can 'talk through' the behaviour because it sounds like it is re-directing George to more appropriate behaviour and demonstrating the 'right' thing to do in those situations. Also, Jacob doesn't actually throw things at people as such - it's all random, but the point is that a random throw can still result in injury. He has never intentionally thrown anything at another person - be it us, or anybody else (yet!)

    Tracey - I should have mentioned that we normally do tell Jacob that throwing can hurt the toys or other people. So we always give him a brief explanation (we try to choose our words in such a way that he understands what we're saying).

    Ambah - oh cool - someone else uses a strategy that we use?! OMG! How amazing! You've just made me feel good about myself! Thanks!! I always find it interesting what you share about Aidyn, as it seems that Jacob follows a similar path in terms of his behaviour and when negative behaviours rectify themselves somewhat - you've mentioned befor about different stages Aidyn has gone through and when they seemed to resolve and with what developmental milestones they coincided with, and I have to say, Jacob has done the same thing and I've thought to myself "Ambah was spot on there!". So thank you so much for your input - I really value it!

    I'm wondering if it's time Jacob moved from his highchair to sit in a seat like us? I wonder if that would help him feel more 'part' of the meal etc? Then again, it could result in him throwing everything off the table - his stuff and ours LOL!

  7. #7
    Melinda Guest

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    *snap* Lucy - we must have been posting at the same time.

    I am certainly wondering if sitting up to the dining table on a chair will help - I think we may have to give it a go and see what happens....

  8. #8

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    Mel, it was painful for me for a week or so......I had become really used to being able to get on with a few jobs whilst Olivia ate at her high chair and I had to re-adjust to eating proper meals with her. But after a week it just became part of the new pattern.....and made life so much more pleasant for all of us......so maybe give it a go, grit your teeth, and HOPEFULLY Jacob will respond well.

  9. #9
    Melinda Guest

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    I've been the same Lucy - used to being able to do a few jobs and odds and ends whilst Jacob eats in his highchair. I'll definitely talk to DH about it and see what he thinks and then give it a whirl!

    Thanks for your advice girls!

  10. #10

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    Hows this been going Mel? I today actually have moved Matty into a booster seat on the dining chair at the table and the grins I got were priceless! I thought at 17 months he may be too young but he seemed really happy and didn't chuck his food so fingers crossed dinner time is just as happy.

    I am the same as you guys - highchair time meant a couple of jobs done for me but oh well, at least Matty is happy!

  11. #11

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    The bonus of getting them to eat at the table, and sit at the table, and stay at the table is that when you then start venturing out for meals out, it is double the pleasure and half the perforance.......we can now go for coffees and lunch and pub dinners with Olivia and she is so enthralled by everything that she sits for AGES happily at the table, and we ALL have a lovely time........so the earlier the better I reckon!!

  12. #12
    Melinda Guest

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    Jacob has been going really well with this. We either sit him at the big dining table or he sits at his own little table in our lounge room - either way, he likes it! He will sit there and gobble away and rarely throws the food - of course we have a few accidents where things end up on the floor, but 99% of the time, it's not as a result of him throwing it, the other 1% of the time it is LOL. But it is SO much better than before and has really encouraged independence with him too - he is a lot more eager to use his spoon/fork (again, not all the time, but definitely more than previously, but he still uses his hands a lot). On the downside, he's also decided now that since he is sitting to eat at the table like a big boy, he no longer requires a bib and rips it off!! Eeek!

    He's also being very good in terms of letting us know when he's had enough and wiping his hands/face with a wipe when he's done!!!

    So all in all, a HUGE improvement!!

  13. #13

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    Melinda - so glad to hear that his strategy is working for u. Must be nice to get things sorted before that next bub arrives - i think ur doing a great job . It was great reading through this thread for tips and strategies i may need to use in the near future.

  14. #14
    Melinda Guest

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    Aww! Thanks!!!

  15. #15

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    So glad to hear that Mel - well done Jacob!

  16. #16
    paras Guest

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    Hi Melinda,

    Its good to hear you've sorted out the 'throwing food' saga.....my input is this: chances are, the reason he was throwing food was for attention, that is, he wanted to be sitting with the 'big people' and eating with you. So, throwing toys around is very likely to be his way of saying to you "hey mum, I want your attention..." whether its because he's bored or you are doing something else at the time. God knows, we can't be with our kids 24/7 and they have to learn some independence, but when he does throw things around, maybe you should just do what you've been doing by telling him that throwing things can hurt someone, and then create a distraction by picking up the toy he has thrown and playing with it together. Ask him to show you what the toy does and how he plays with it...eventually, you can talk to him about his behaviour when he is a bit older but for now its all about HIM wanting YOU! Saying this, you have to be careful that you don't create a situation where he's throwing things purposefully just to get your attention b/c he knows you'll play with him....I know its a tough one but I am sure you will find the solution....Another thing you can do is have a basket for him to throw things - good for his hand-eye coordination. FYI, the above techniques always worked with my children, except for those times they threw toys out of anger - in that situation I was quick smart about removing the toy after a warning.....good luck

  17. #17
    Melinda Guest

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    This has all come undone again.....*sigh*

    Not sure what on earth to try now.......the throwing of toys and food has increased dramatically and the baby arrives in only a few weeks so I'm terrified........

    I'm not coping with it too well I'm afraid!

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