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How can I punish him? Or what can I do about it?

My 5 yr old son will dump his plate on the floor if there is something he does not want to eat at all. I always make him clean it up, but how can I get him to stop doing this. Most of the time he will take like 5 bites of his food at then dump the rest on the floor. Sometimes he will start to cry & say he is still hungry. He does not do this at school, only at home.


Asked by Anonymous at 12:50 PM on Feb. 27, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

This question is closed.
Answers (8)
  • This worked for a friend in a simiilar situation. When he dumps his food, he goes to his room until the next meal. So, if it's a breakfast, he goes in until lunch. If he does it at dinner? Good night buddy! Remind him at the beginning of the meal, though, because at 5 most kids still have selective memory.

    Answer by indymom22 at 9:03 PM on Feb. 27, 2010

  • I would spank for such an offence as this. I would tell him in advance that if he dumps his plate again, he will be spanked because this is unacceptable behavior in our home. I would give no other warning, and I would administer the spanking, telling him that I love him too much to allow him to continue this type behavior. Do not spank him in anger. You are spanking to train him not to misbehave. Try to think of it more in terms of discipline and not in terms of punishment, although there are naturally elements of both involved. He is old enough to understand the concept of rules and consequences. He is also old enough to understand consequences for bad choices, which are often painful in life. You are also teaching him to respect your authority and to obey rules, all of which are very important life lessons. There is a vast difference between an accidental spill and a defiant act of dumping food on purpose.

    Answer by NannyB. at 1:15 PM on Feb. 27, 2010

  • Food should never be a battle.

    We use the 3 bite rule. You must try 3 bites of what is on your plate; if you don't like it, you fix yourself peanut butter and honey on whole grain toast with a kiwi or apple. Even my husband is expected to follow the rule.

    I would start a reward chart, and give him a sticker every time he has a good meal. When he gets ten stickers, give him a small toy (like from a kid-meal at a fast food restaurant).

    Answer by rkoloms at 1:27 PM on Feb. 27, 2010

  • One warning before dinner starts .. "Jimmy, this is your one warning. If you dump your food on the floor then the meal will be over and you will go sit in time out." Or his room, or wherever you feel is best. Let him know that this is the only food he is getting until the next meal, so if he is hungry now he had better eat it. Also, tell him that there are better ways to behave at the table then dumping his plate. If there is something that he doesn't like, then he can simply ignore it and eat the rest of his meal. Don't be soft about this, don't give warning after warning. Be consistant, follow through, and stand your ground.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 2:58 PM on Feb. 27, 2010

  • While I agree that food should not be a battle, dumping food is something I would discipline immediately, even with a 3 year old. Whatever consequence you choose, inform him before dinner, and immediately follow through. At age 5, if he dumps his food, dinner can be over, too.

    Answer by whiteroses82 at 3:59 PM on Feb. 27, 2010

  • At age 5, he's acting immature for his age. Babies dump their food on the floor, not 5 yr olds. So, if necessary, feed him yourself taking control of the plate completely away from him. One warning before dinner, sit right beside him and be ready to grab the plate.
    Food should never been a battle and a doctor told me when my kids were young that as long as they had ONE good full meal, that was enough and that the rest is just extra food. So, if he needs to go hungry a night, so be it.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:06 PM on Feb. 27, 2010

  • Based on previous response, a BABY dumps their food on the floor, not a 5yo. Tell him if he decides to dump his food on the floor like a baby, he'll be TREATED like a baby. Early bedtime, only baby tv shows that night, baby toys, etc. That'll probably clear up the behavior pretty quickly.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:30 PM on Feb. 27, 2010

  • I would clean the floor well before the meal or place a plastic table cloth on the floor under him. Warn him once that if he throws it on the floor, then he will be eating off the floor. Then follow through. He thinks if he throws it on the floor then he doesn't have to eat it & you'll make him something else. Do not give in.

    Answer by motherofhope98 at 1:04 PM on Feb. 28, 2010