Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Seeking help from more experienced parents - frustration around dinner table

My 21 month old daughter sometimes can make a real mess during meal times. It starts with the way she eats her sandwhich; Everything has to be taken to bits and will be everywhere, besides on her plate. Second thing is, that she does a few bites and says "done"and pushes the plate and her cup away. Everything else on the table gets moved aswell by that. You allways have to watch out, or things will fall of the table. Then she plays a bit, takes back the plate and here we go again: "done!"...
But the one thing that really pushes my buttons is when she looks at me and then throws food onto the floor.
Of course I tell her of and say that it's naughty, but she does not care (would you at 21 month old?) So my question is: What immediate action can I take to teach her that it's wrong and unwanted behavior? You know, cause - effect. Straight away. Done something wrong - Get punished.

 
BeachMom81

Asked by BeachMom81 at 4:02 PM on Apr. 12, 2009 in General Parenting

Level 21 (11,551 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (12)
  • What a big girl she is. 21 month, i think she is testing your limit.

    Throwing food on to the floor is really nasty act! is she telling you that she doesn't want the food anymore? Tell her to pick it up and leave it on the plate if she is done for good and doesn't want anymore.

    You know she isn't going to like picking the food up, then tell her if she doesnt' like it, then dont' throw it on the floor, leave it on the plate or put it in the trash can or bag.
    yoshiki56

    Answer by yoshiki56 at 4:45 PM on Apr. 12, 2009

  • Well my son is 5 and still doesn't eat at the table because of the mess factor. He sits in a booster with a tray and when my youngest is big enough he'll be sitting in the same fashion. My son is just a messy eater but not on purpose but he used to be. When your child makes a mess on purpose (throws food on the floor) meal time is over and they can get down. Keep up with this and she will get the message that meal time is for eating not throwing food on the floor. Also use a bib with a little cup or catcher at the end. It makes for an easier clean up. Your child will not starve. If she pushes food away and doesn't want to eat at meal time, take the food and drink away and make her remain sitting while everyone else finishes eating.

    legalmommy101

    Answer by legalmommy101 at 4:12 PM on Apr. 12, 2009

  • I would say time out. Give her one warning and if she does it again sit her in a "naughty chair" for 2 min. that way she can reflect on the bad behavior. Then get and apology and try again. It's going to be a battle of willpower. You have to be stronger though!
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:13 PM on Apr. 12, 2009

  • give her less to play with. Keep in mind she's only 21 months. Life is a little game for them. They play a lot, even with food. When she says "done" then remove her from the table (play area). That will eliminate some of the mess. Little kids have a short attention span. If all else fails, put her on your lap (when she comes back to eat more ...and she will) and give her a bit more than put her down to run again. She'll be fine. I wouldn't punish her regarding food/eating. She'll learn with time. She'll see no one else is throwing their food in the floor. If she starts throwing food then assume she's done and let her down as well. If she's hungry she'll stop throwing it down so she won't be removed from the food!
    admckenzie

    Answer by admckenzie at 4:16 PM on Apr. 12, 2009

  • I should add- no snacks if she didn't eat her meals. If you do that, you are rewarding bad behavior. She will eat when she gets hungry enough and you won't find the food on the floor.

    legalmommy101

    Answer by legalmommy101 at 4:17 PM on Apr. 12, 2009

  • SHE IS LOOKING AT YOU AND DOING IT BECAUSE SHE IS TESTING YOU, SHE KNOWS PERFECTLY WELL YOU DON'T LIKE THE BEHAVIOUR, SHE AWAITS YOUR REACTION. I WOULD KEEP AN EYE ON HER AND WHEN YOU THINK SHE HAS HAD ENOUGH TAKE IT AWAY SO SHE DOESN'T HAVE A CHANCE TO THROW IT AND IF SHE DOES DO IT, PUT HER IN TIME OUT.
    older

    Answer by older at 5:14 PM on Apr. 12, 2009

  • I think you are looking at this the wrong way. I have lots of kids, and the truth is, they are messy. Plain and simple. The worst age is right around the age you are at (anywhere from 18 months to about 2.5 years). Think of it this way... First, she is at an age where she doesn't need to eat as much. They don't grow as fast now as they did when they were babies, so they need less food. Start there. Half a sandwich is a lot for her age. She should have breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and snack. Have you ever tried to eat that many times in one day? You don't really need a lot of food each time. Next, she needs to explore and figure out how things work. This is where the taking apart of a sandwich comes in. Who cares, she is learning and it won't continue forever, I promise. Lastly, she should be cleaning up her own mess. If she throws her food on the floor, she should pick it up and put it in the trash.
    Amber115

    Answer by Amber115 at 7:20 PM on Apr. 12, 2009

  • If she takes her cup and flips it upside down (which was my youngest daughters favorite thing to do at that age LOL), grab a towel and have her clean it up. Take her food and cup away if she is playing and give her an opportunity to try again at the next meal. How is she ever going to learn if you do everything for her? Good luck!
    Amber115

    Answer by Amber115 at 7:22 PM on Apr. 12, 2009

  • She is being a normal 21 month old child. It is what they do. They are learning and testing limits. Do not make a big deal out of it, she will then continue to think it is a game. I wouldn't tell her that she is naughty because she isn't. Her behavior may not be perfect or accceptable but she is not naughty. She is learning how to use utensils too. It will be messy for a little longer. DO NOT use the meals as a punishment or as rewards. Food and meals should never be used that way. When she pushes her food away, ask her "all done" and if she continues to push the food away,take it away..she probably is done. She knows when she is full.
    tyfry7496

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 9:13 PM on Apr. 12, 2009

  • Once my kids were around that age and purposefully made messes I removed the food until they wanted to be a "big girl" or whatever. They also had to help clean up any messes they made. But making a mess just by normal eating...well, that's normal. My 6yo still tears her sandwiches into bitty pieces when she eats. She just has to clean up the mess when she is done.
    justanotherjen

    Answer by justanotherjen at 10:24 PM on Apr. 12, 2009