A common question is: What should you do when your baby or toddler throws food?
There are different approaches. I've learned to only say NO for emergencies or unsafe situations, so I don't say "no" or "no throwing food" or get upset. Instead, I tell Theo what he CAN do, not what he CAN'T. It's a more positive (and in my opinion, effective) way of communicating the rules.
How does this play out? When Theo threw food off his tray as a younger baby, I would calmly say, "Food stays on your tray or goes in your mouth, or Mama thinks you're all done." I would sign "all done" for good measure. I gave him three chances and then after the third I would end the meal. He didn't starve (quite contrary) and he learned quickly about the consequences of throwing food. He stopped throwing food for many months.
Now that he's a toddler (17 months), he has been experimenting with cause and effect a lot! He sometimes likes to drop or throw food off of his tray to see what happens. He thinks it's funny to watch Zoe, our dog, eat it after it falls on the floor. This all usually occurs when he's "all done" and not interested in eating anymore. I repeat my line from above about where food can go, usually only twice, and then end the meal.
Recently, he has been able to sign for "all done", which is extremely helpful to know what he wants to do. He still has limited language, so it really aids in our ability to communicate successfully.
For more information, check about my posts about sign language for meals and signs of being done.
What do you do when your baby or toddler throws food? What has worked for you and what hasn't worked? Please share with us in the comments!