hi mom's i have a ? about picky food throwing eater toddler ,and i need some help

Jessica - posted on 11/07/2008 ( 12 moms have responded )

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i have a two year old son. who refuses to eat his table food when its time to eat . I have a nutritionist working with me and we both can't figure it out of why he does what he does. i also had talk to my doctor about the behavioral when it comes to food throwing. all she said it that there needs to be more structure.



so how can you structure a child that knows how to throw a plate full of food on to the floor, and when he is in his high chair he knows how to take his own tray off and throw it on the floor as well. i know we can't strap him down and force feed him that will be bad. its always the around the same times i feed him with each meal. i don't play games i hardly have the tv on when he eats. and i usually eat along with him. is there any advice or ideas you can give me?

12 Comments

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Lori - posted on 11/08/2008

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I had a Occupational Therapist working in our home 2 summers ago when my son would have outbursts similar to your son's food throwing. She told me when my son would show an inappropriate behavior to stick with a firm verbal, "no, thank you, we don't throw food" reprimand, and wait until he stopped doing the behavior for a small amount of time. For the small amt of time he doesn't throw the food, reinforce him with lots of praise and then model to him the appropriate behavior (take a bite of food yourself). Have your husband praise you for doing the right behavior and draw a lot of attention (laughter, smiles) for the desired behavior. Be consistent, have patience and maybe over time, more food will get in his mouth than on the floor.



Recommendation for the picky eater: Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook "Deceptively Delicious" has great kid friendly menus that sneak in healthy foods without them knowing it.

Jessica - posted on 11/08/2008

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thx you guys for all your advice. i have to say one thing, my son is on a calorie booster call 1.5 just for kids, he has two of them in a day time one in the morning and one a little after dinner. i have to omit that i really don't give him snacks at times, because i'm so focus on trying to get three meals into him. If i let him nick pick all day will that still be ok? or just one advice my doctor says if he likes something a lot like oatmeal give it to him durning the meals..lol i thought it was funny. as for the booster seat idea we have one i'm just afraid to use it, since he tipped backwards in the booster seat while it was still attach to the chair it self. i guess i'm afraid that will happen again.

Angela - posted on 11/08/2008

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Wow - lots of good advice! I didn't read all of it, but I wanted to let you know that when my son went thru this phase, and Yay! it was just a phase, one way I helped him was to have him help me prepare the food. Whatever little way he could help - scooping stuff into bowls, pouring from the measuring cup, serving onto his plate - something within his skill range, but something that gave him a sense of "investment" in dinner. :-) Yes, this adds to your prep time, and yes it can be messy; but it can also really give them a feeling of belonging and helping - which they are all about at two! you also might try changing the time you feed home - maybe he is not really ready to eat yet, maybe its past the time hes ready and now hes too hungry to eat. I really reccomend NOT force feeding, that can lead to all kinds of sad food traumas later - and it is not fun for anyone now. I just ignored his tantruma dn said, OK you may be excused, we are going to finish dinner. And we did. It did take time, but he is past it now. Good luck, and hang in there!!

Kelly - posted on 11/08/2008

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Hi, I really sympathise with you, we all know how frustrating it is spending ages preparing a good meal for your child only for them to refuse to eat or as you said it ending up on the floor! I would highly recommend making mealtimes a family affair, if you can get everyone up at the dining table to eat a meal together, it really does make a difference! Also I know it is very easy to say, but really do try to stop worrying, your little boy WILL NOT STARVE! However tempting it may be to offer snacks just to get some food into your son, it is counterproductive. He will be alot more keen to eat at meals if he has had nothing to eat for a few hours. Also try limiting the amount of fluids he drinks as some children have the habit of substituting foods for juice!

I would try just offering a couple of pieces of food at a time to begin with and as he starts to accept it, gradually build up the amount he has. I found it really helpful to try to engage my daughter in a conversation when we eat, she is only 2 and a half so he speech isnt all that great yet but she likes to have a chat and tell me about her day, and the eating just happens without her even thinking about it!

Just keep at it, im sure things will sort themselves out eventually. :-)

Karly - posted on 11/07/2008

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I have to agree that eating together at the table is huge! Also, I kind of hate to say, but he's not going to starve himself. If he won't sit at the table and throws his food then maybe you shouldn't offer him anything else until the next mealtime. He's getting nutrition from somewhere...I can't imagine he's not eating anything at all. You have to remember too that this is the only thing he has control of at this age, and you're playing his game just the way he wants you to. Best of luck to you!

Melissa - posted on 11/07/2008

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We eat as a family and I feed my toddler most of the same food we eat but I put a spin on it so it's fun. He is into trains so I will use a cookie cutter and cut sandwiches, hamburgers, chicken, whatever I can into trains. I will dye mashed potatoes purple and have him help me cook. He went from throwing food to getting excited about food.

Sherri - posted on 11/07/2008

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To have my son eat a meal I have to feed him a bit of his meal, then I have to have an apple sauce or yogurt or pudding, give him a couple spoons of that, then he eats more food. I also have to sing songs and get him to laugh, he's more willing to eat then. If he flat out refuses food i have to feed him off of my fingers(being that the only thing he is willing to feed himself is cookies), he usuall will eat fingers foods, a sandwhich or something I can feed him by hand, or likes eating better if he sees food on my plate he immediately will run over saying mmmmm and want to share it

Kelli - posted on 11/07/2008

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When my oldest was 2 he refused to eat anything at the table unless we ate as a family. Someone always had to be eating when he was. And I also put him in a booster seat. I think it helped him feel more independent.

Ashley - posted on 11/07/2008

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My son will not eat food. He eats snacks, but he won't eat real food. Right now his diet consists of cheese, yogurt, fruits, a few vegis, popcorn, and occasionally chips or fries just to get some calories in. It drives me nuts. I continue to offer him regular meals with us, and he finally realized that if he sits at the table and plays with his food, I don't bug him about his eating. I offer healthy snacks consisting of the above throughout the day, and have completely cut out juice, since I believe he was substituting it for food.

As far as structure, we stopped putting him in his high chair. We got him a big boy chair - maybe try a booster seat. If he wants to get down, I let him. I leave his food on the table and if he wants it, it's there. He generally stays a few minutes now, because I'm not trying to make him eat (or convince him to eat) and we talk a little or I sing some songs with him.

My doctor said he won't starve himself and eventually he will start trying the real food (seriously, he was eating jars of baby food until about 2 months ago at 22 months, I finally stopped feeding him it - I was just so worried he'd starve.) I suppose one day he will be eating real food, I hope...... I just stopped making meal time a struggle - and the whole dynamic changed. Now, if he throws his food, I would make him get down and leave the table, but that's obviously what he wants. I would teach him to say "no thank you" and when he does, you respect that. If he pushes the plate away, just take it - tell him that's what is for dinner, but respect his boundaries. That will stop the throwing, it won't help the eating, but it will help the struggle. If my son pushes away his meals - which he does with every single meal, I don't let him have a snack until 2 hours later - if he's hungry, then he can have his lunch. He won't take it, but it's there.



That's my advice - stop struggling. You can't win a fight with a 2 year old - don't even get into it with them. But if you respect his wishes and stop worrying that he will starve, you will find it's much easier to deal with meals. It is frustrating for me that I feed him nice meals, and he may nibble on the fruit or vegis, but won't eat the meal. But I just keep offering it... one day he will eat.

Donna - posted on 11/07/2008

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Sometimes you have to play their game... Maybe try giving 1 piece of food at a time (1 french fry and then 1 piece of a chicken finger and then 1 piece of broccoli). He may be playing you and trying to get a reaction. If you limit what he can throw, and continue to sit with him while you hand him 1 piece at a time, maybe he'll finalize realize tha he is hungry and that he should eat piece by piece instead of throwing it.



If the high chair can be lowered and pulled right up to the table then you can remove the whole tray dilemma! He may want to be a "big boy" and can't communicate with words that he doesn't like the "tray". Toss the tray and let him eat right off of the table (no plates or those will end up on the floor too :-))



Good luck!!!!

Jodi - posted on 11/07/2008

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When you feed him, does everyone else join? I notice when we have pizza night at our house we only have the boys sit at the table and my hubby and i sit in the livingroom and watch a show together. Thats when my 2 year old refuses to sit and eat. But when you get all of us at the table for a meal he does well. The picky eating is going to be hard. Is there any kind that he really likes? If there is, maybe letting him have his favorites twice a week. Then keep on introducing the same meal that he doesn't like for awhile. My older son was a picky eater since he turned 2. And now he is starting to enjoy the foods he refused to eat (he is 8 by the way). Keep up with the same routine everyday and every week. Sooner or later that will help out tremendously.

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