How to Get My Toddler to Stop Throwing Food

If you’re a parent of a mischievous toddler, you know the struggle of getting your little one to stop throwing their food at mealtime. It’s an all-too-common battle with parents everywhere wondering how they can stop it! The good news is it is possible to avoid this dinner table drama and help your toddler develop better eating habits.

How to Get My Toddler to Stop Throwing Food

In this post, we’ll explore some practical tips for training your toddler out of their food-tossing ways so that mealtimes become fun instead of frustrating! So, if you’re ready for a stress-free meal, read on how to get my toddler to stop throwing food and learn how to get your toddler to end their food-throwing days once and for all.

Necessary Items to Have On Hand

Before we dive into the tips, it’s important to ensure you have everything you need for mealtimes. The right tools can make all the difference when stopping your toddler from throwing food. Here are some essential items that every parent should have ready before their little one sits down to eat:

  • A sturdy highchair or booster seat with straps to help keep your toddler secure.
  • A bib or smock to protect their clothes from spills and messes.
  • Plates, bowls, and utensils designed for toddlers. These often have suction cups on the bottom to prevent them from being easily thrown off the table.
  • A spill-proof cup or sippy cup that can withstand a bit of rough handling.
  • Plenty of napkins or wipes for quick clean-ups.

With these items on hand, you’ll be well prepared to handle any food-throwing antics that may arise during mealtime.

10 Tips on How to Get My Toddler to Stop Throwing Food

Now that you have all the necessary tools, it’s time to tackle the behavior. Here are some practical tips for getting your toddler to stop throwing food:

Tip 1: Set Clear Expectations

Before mealtime, talk to your toddler and let them know that throwing food is not allowed. Explain why eating their food is important and how throwing it can make a big mess. Setting clear expectations can help your toddler understand what is expected of them and make them more likely to cooperate.

Throwing Food is Not Allowed

Tip 2: Keep Mealtime Short

Toddlers have short attention spans, so keeping mealtime short (around 15-20 minutes) can prevent boredom and minimize food-throwing chances. If your toddler seems disinterested in eating, try removing their food and allowing them to take a break. You can always offer the food again later when they are hungry.

Tip 3: Avoid Distractions

Avoid distractions during mealtime, such as turning off the TV or keeping toys away from the table. This will help your toddler focus on eating and reduce the likelihood of throwing food for attention.

Tip 4: Make Mealtime Fun

Use brightly colored plates and utensils, or make fun shapes out of food to make mealtime more enjoyable for your toddler. This can help keep their attention and encourage them to eat instead of throwing food.

Tip 5: Praise Good Behavior

When your toddler does a good job of eating without throwing food, praise them for their good behavior. This positive reinforcement can encourage them to continue behaving well during future meals.

Tip 6: Give Small Portions

Toddlers are notorious for having small appetites, so giving them too much food at once can be overwhelming and lead to food-throwing. Start with smaller portions and offer more if they finish everything on their plate.

Tip 7: Be Consistent with Consequences

If your toddler does throw food, it’s important to follow through with consequences every time. This can be as simple as removing their plate and ending the meal if they throw food after being warned. Being consistent will help your toddler understand that throwing food is unacceptable.

Tip 8: Get Them Involved in Meal Preparation

Toddlers love to help, so getting them involved in preparing their meals can make them more interested in eating them. Let them wash fruits and vegetables, mix ingredients, or set the table. This can give them a sense of ownership over their food and make them less likely to throw it.

Involved in Preparing Their Meals

Tip 9: Be Patient

Remember that changing behavior takes time, so be patient and try different strategies until you find what works for your toddler. Stay calm and avoid getting frustrated, which can worsen the situation.

Tip 10: Lead by Example

As a parent, you are your child’s biggest role model. If they see you throwing food or exhibiting other undesirable behaviors during meals, they are likelier to imitate that behavior. Set a good example and eat your food without throwing it.

Getting your toddler to stop throwing food may take some time and patience, but with these practical tips, you can help them develop better eating habits and make mealtimes enjoyable for the whole family. Remember to set clear expectations, avoid distractions, and be consistent with consequences.

And most importantly, have fun and make mealtime a positive experience for your little one! So, put these tips into action and enjoy a peaceful, mess-free dinner with your toddler tonight!

8 Additional Tips for Making Mealtime Fun and Stress-Free

In addition to the tips mentioned above, here are eight more ideas to help make mealtime a fun and stress-free experience for you and your toddler:

1. Have Themed Meals

Create a theme for your meals, such as a color or animal theme, and plan the menu accordingly. Your toddler will love the excitement and novelty of themed meals. Plus, it can make meal planning more fun for parents, too!

Meals Such as Animal Theme

2. Use Food Cutters

Invest in some food cutters to make fun shapes out of fruits, vegetables, and sandwiches. You can even let your toddler use the cutters themselves with adult supervision. This can make mealtime more interactive and encourage them to eat their food.

3. Have a Picnic

Take your meals outside and picnic in the backyard or at the park. Fresh air and a change of scenery can make mealtime more enjoyable for everyone. Just remember to bring a blanket and some wipes for easy clean-up.

4. Play “I Spy”

Make mealtime a game by playing “I Spy” with different foods on their plate. This can help your toddler develop their vocabulary and make them more interested in trying new foods.

5. Read a Book

Reading a book while eating can help your toddler stay seated and occupied during mealtime. Choose books with colorful pictures or stories about food to keep them engaged.

6. Try New Recipes

Introduce new flavors and textures to your toddler’s meals by trying new recipes. Get them involved in the preparation process and let them taste-test the ingredients. This can make them more excited about trying the final dish.

7. Have a “No Utensils” Meal

Sometimes, letting your toddler eat with their hands can make mealtime more fun and less stressful. Offer finger foods like chicken nuggets or fruits that they can easily pick up and eat independently.

8. Play Soft Music

Playing soft background music during meals can create a calming atmosphere and encourage your toddler to eat without distractions. Choose instrumental or child-friendly songs that could be more stimulating.

Create a Calming Atmosphere

Remember, every child is different, so what works for one may not work for another. Don’t be discouraged if some of these tips don’t work right away – keep trying, and eventually, you will find what works best for your toddler. Mealtime should be enjoyable and stress-free for you and your child, so keep these tips in mind and make the most of this special time together. Happy eating!

Frequently Asked Question

How Do I Know if My Toddler is Ready to Eat Solid Foods?

Every child is different, but most toddlers are ready to eat solid foods between 6-9 months old. Signs of readiness include sitting up independently and showing interest in what others are eating. Consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns.

How Do I Handle Food Allergies in My Toddler?

If your toddler has a known food allergy, avoid that food and have appropriate substitutes available. If you suspect your child may have a food allergy, consult their pediatrician for testing and guidance on managing the allergy.

What Should I Do if My Toddler Refuses to Eat?

It’s normal for toddlers to go through phases where they refuse to eat certain foods or have a decreased appetite. Offer various healthy options, and try not to pressure your child to eat. If you are concerned about their nutrition, consult with their pediatrician.

How Can I Encourage My Toddler to Try New Foods?

Offer new foods alongside familiar ones and involve your toddler in the preparation process. You can also make trying new foods into a game or challenge to make it more fun and exciting for your child.

Is It Okay to Let My Toddler Have Snacks Between Meals?

Snacking is okay if the snacks are healthy and not too close to mealtimes. For balanced nutrition, offer a mix of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid sugary snacks and drinks. Consult with your pediatrician if you have concerns about your toddler’s snacking habits.

Overall, the key is to make mealtime a positive experience for your toddler and to be patient as they develop their eating habits. With creativity and consistency, you can help your child develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.


In conclusion, mealtime can be a challenging but important part of your toddler’s development. By following these tips on how to get my toddler to stop throwing food, you can help make mealtime more enjoyable and encourage healthy eating habits in your child. Remember to stay patient and consistent, and always lead by example.

With time, you will find what works best for your family and create happy memories around the dinner table. Keep exploring and discovering new ways to make mealtime fun and stress-free for you and your little one! So, put these tips into action and enjoy a peaceful, mess-free dinner with your toddler tonight!

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Loren Jones

Hi, my name is Loren. I live with my husband and 4 lovely kiddos in the Eastern part of San-fransisco. I have a smart beautiful,curious 6 year old daughter, a handsome 11-year-old son, an intelligent and tech geek 15 years old son and a creative, artistic 12-year-old stepson. With each of my kids being five years apart, I feel that I’m now continually phasing in and out of each stage of parenting! I’ve learned a lot about the way children learn and behave, especially in a school setting with regards to curriculum. I enjoy sharing that insight through my writing and hope that it can help others.

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