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Feeding: When babies and toddlers throw food

Most infants and toddlers go through phases where they throw food. Here are some strategies to keep this phase short-lived:

  • It is important for your child to learn how to feed herself, and in the beginning, things will get messy. Although it may not be pleasant to watch, this is a part of your child's attempts to develop independence. You don't want mealtime to be miserable, so do not punish her for not eating or making a mess.

  • Throwing food may be a sign that he is full and ready to finish mealtime. Try not to worry about how much food he has eaten - he will get what he needs.

  • Throwing food may also be a way to get attention from you. Make sure that you attend to your child and praise her for desirable behaviour.

  • Encourage your child to help you clean up after mealtime. Try making it into a game, and something that you enjoy together.

  • It may be that other caregivers are feeding your child or giving him sweets so that he isn't hungry at mealtime. Try asking others to give affection and attention, rather than sweets.

  • Many children are more interested in playing than eating, or find it difficult to stay seated. Leaving a plate of healthy snacks available helps to ensure that a child gets enough food for the day.

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