When toddlers throw things

"I have a problem with my 19 month old son who is basically mellow except he has one behavior which upsets us. He throws everything including food. We've tried both ignoring it and showing our displeasure and neither has any effect. He continues to throw. He also will not drink out of a cup - he dumps it out. At day care he drinks out of a cup all the time. Any ideas?"

"It might sound mean, but it worked with our son when he would fuss while we ate dinner if we were to tell him that he needed to behave or he would have to go to his room, until he could learn to behave. After 2 days of being put in his crib while we ate, he had learned that we were serious. The same with his cup. Tell him he can't eat with the family until he learns to behave, then feed him later by himself."

"Have your son help clean up the mess he made or have him clean it up by himself."

"We have a 13 month old son, who sometimes throws food and dumps milk. He also used to throw toys over the gates and scream for us to retrieve them. With the toys we decided to only retrieve things once, and if he throws it again it's `gone', for awhile. He now knows this and doesn't scream to get things back - we just say "oh-oh....all gone" and he gives up. Regarding food, he usually only does this when he's getting full or bored. He gets one warning, and then the food is removed for a minute or two. We give him a few chances, and if he keeps it up we usually end his meal. If I don't think he;s eating enough, I feed him myself and hold the cup for him. (Since he likes to do it himself, he usually straightens right up.)"

"Try taking away what ever he throws like food, don't give it back right away and tell him why you took it. Also, I have found with my day care experience, giving him time to throw a ball around really helped get that aggression out, tell him now we can throw this is O.k. Food and milk is not. Praise him."

"When our 18 month old starts to throw her food it means that meal time is over right then with nothing to be offered until the next meal. Remove him from the high chair quickly and calmly. Don't pick up whatever he's thrown until he can't see you doing it - otherwise you are providing entertainment for him! When he dumps

his cup, do not replace it quickly with a bottle. In other words, avoid providing reactions to his actions. Our daughter is beginning to learn that if she is hungry or thirsty she had better eat or drink, not throw!"

"Every time he throws food, take him away from the table for `time out' (30 sec. to 2 minutes) away from the table. Then he could come back if he was ready to join the table again. If he throws again - `time out' again. Start this when you have time to do this and the energy to stick to it. It may take awhile. For some reason he's decided throwing food, etc., is the thing that gets to you."

7. - "When our 2 year old son started throwing food a few months ago, we showed displeasure - no results though. When we took the food away (to the sink) and said `All done', he was mad. When asked if he would stop throwing food and when he said `Da', (`yes' for our son) we brought the food back. Be prepared to end a meal, or end a meal early so he knows you are serious. We did the same for `cup dumping'. This is more `fun', so it took longer, but we were successful. That's what our cay care did, so we reinforced this take-away approach at home. Ask your day care how they are successful and try their techniques at home."

"My kid threw everything too. Think of it as a developmental stage he has to go through. The purpose of the throwing is to learn to coordinate and control trunk muscles for balance skills, arm and hand muscles for grasp & release skills, head & eye muscles for eye-hand coordination skills, as well as cognition skills about weight of object, distance, sound when it hits etc. He's really not throwing things just to aggravate you. Let him throw things in appropriate settings to his hearts content - i.e., Nerf balls, ping pong balls or plastic golf balls in the house, golf balls or stones into a bucket of water out side, pieces of paper into the wastebasket, bread to the ducks at the lake, cooled laundry from dry into the clothes basket."

"It sounds like your child is frustrated, which is quite typical at 19 months when children want to do all the things older ones do but lack the coordination to do them and have limits set that they can't yet understand. It's a stage he'll soon grow out of. Meanwhile, make sure he isn't crowded or given too many restrictions, and give him lots of creative outlets for the tension he feels. Take him to wide grassy areas and run with him, give him a variety of balls to throw and kick, give him a board and hammer and a good sounding drum. and when he does throw things, kiss him and hug him and say, `It's O.K.. I'm here for you and I understand'."

"Does someone in your family, at day care, or on T.V. throw things that he sees? Feed him and give him a cup with a secure seal."

"Even at 19 months, most children `test' their parents and learn their limits. You don't say how you showed your displeasure but I would highly recommend a spanking or if it's at dinner time, you physically remove him from the table. I know it's very difficult to let your child go hungry but sometimes that is the best and only punishment that will work for food throwing. This is something that I have seen a lot of with parents who just hope the child will `grow out of it". Food throwing can go on for years and years before you can reason adequately with a child to stop it. I would not ignore it, you may pay that price in embarrassment for years to come. I would give him something that he absolutely likes to drink in the cup, the he may not be so inclined to dump it out. The other option is to not `give' him the cup but hold the cup for him. Eventually you can tell him that he can have the cup but only if he drinks and doesn't dump - make it a reward."

"I would put whatever he throws up or away for a period explaining we don't throw food or toys. If he throws his food or dumps his cup take it away and have him get down and go play but no food until the next meal. This worked with our daughter. She soon learned that if she wanted to eat or drink she would have to do it right. Be consistent & he'll learn. Good luck!"

"Prior to giving your son his food or beverage, explain that if he throws it on the floor, he will not be given any additional food/beverage. If he throws the food on the floor, quietly clean it up, then take him out of his chair and firmly tell him he will not get anything else to eat until the next meal. If he asks for something to eat prior to the next meal, simply remind him he can't have anything because he threw his food on the floor. Be firm. If he gets hungry enough, he'll learn not to throw his food."

"In our house, if a child throws food, after one warning, he's done eating for that meal or snack until the next scheduled one. We us spout cups until the pouring stage is over and only give the cup to the child for a drink then take it away - screams or not - when the sip is done. Also, try giving less food at a time, like only one or two bites each of 2 or 3 things.

"It seems he uses food and drink as a controlling device, and he's getting away with it. Try removing him from the table for a time out every time he throws food or dumps out his cup. While it's a pain to do, he'll soon realize that his actions have consequences and that he doesn't like those consequences. Each time he goes for a period without throwing or dumping, praise him. He'll soon learn the new program, and he'll be much more fun to be with."

"It sounds like he really wants your attention at home. Maybe you could set aside some time just for him to do whatever he wants, without any disruptions. And see if it helps - if not, take the cup away. I think he might eventually ask for a drink. You should put the drink in a cup - not a bottle. But don't give him the drink until he is thirsty enough to ask for it, and he will, eventually."

"When he is eating and he starts throwing food, stop feeding him. Have him get down and let him play. Then when he is serious about eating he will eat. If he dumps out what he is drinking, take away the cup until he is serious about drinking. Other things that he throws, take away. Take away the toys or whatever he throws and put it up high for a day. Whenever he throws something it is take away from him. Hopefully through consistency, he will learn this behavior doesn't benefit him at all."

"I am a day care provider and various things occur at home that will not happen here because we are consistent in what we do. In other words our buttons cannot be pressed. Children will always try things with their parents. Hold the cup while he drinks so he cannot throw it. If he's thirsty he will drink. Gently hold on hand while he eats. It's harder to throw if you want to eat while throwing."

"We have two boys who also love to throw. We finally realized that we had to allow them to do it somewhere. The urge was so strong. So we set definite limits - `You can throw downstairs or outside', and we gave them a box full of soft and rubber balls. The we played throwing games with them. When they would disobey the rules and throw upstairs, we would repeat the rule. If the disobeyed again, we took the object they were throwing away and put it up high. You may need to take away 20 toys in a row for him to get the message. The cup behavior sounds as if he's mad about something. You can try to figure it out, but he also needs to learn that he can't just dump what's in his cup. After the first infraction, take the cup away and don't give it to him again during the meal. When he gets thirsty enough, he will be all business about drinking, and no nonsense about dumping. Also, if food is ever thrown, make that the end of the meal. He'll catch on quickly once he gets hungry a time or two."

"We told our son that only balls should be thrown. If he continued to throw other things, they were taken and put away. When he realizes all his toys are gone, he should stop. As for throwing food, don't allow him to feed himself until he can control himself."

"Sounds like this guy has found a button. Throwing things never fails to upset you. Remain calm. Explain `that this is not to throw - it will break/break something else/make a mess, etc.'. If it makes a mess, have him pick it up or clean it up, not as a punishment but so he must be responsible for his behavior. Try getting some books with age-specific suggestions for discipline and guiding behavior. Dr. Spock's book has some guidelines. Also, let him know what is okay to throw - `Only this Nerf ball', etc. As for drinking from a cup, he may be living up to the other children at day-care, but wants to relax and regress at home. Try other containers - bottom-heavy cup, cup with spout, cup with stray, etc. Make sure he has other chances with water play. Let him `help' you do the dishes, or give him a cup and dish pan to play with on the kitchen floor."

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