How To Stop Toddlers From Throwing Food

how to stop toddlers throwing food


The thing about toddlers is that they’re still developing their fine motor skills. That means they will make a mess of everything, including their plates of spaghetti.

You don’t have to worry about them eating the food off their plate (they’ll use their hands for that). This is the How to stop toddlers from throwing food guide.

The bad news is that it might end up on the wall or floor instead… or on you. It’s not uncommon for parents to joke about how messy their kids are and how much work it takes to keep them clean.

But when it comes down to it, there are ways to prevent your kid from throwing food every day (and trust me: They’ll still be plenty cute despite being covered in spaghetti sauce).

So if you need tips on how not to let your toddler chuck stuff around after dinner every night… read on!

Get rid of the high chair.

If you’re like me, when your child is hungry and ready for a meal, the last thing you want to do is wait for them to sit still in a high chair at the table. But if your toddler throws food every time he eats (or even tries), it might be time to try another approach: a booster seat.

The problem with high chairs is that they are challenging to clean and can be dangerous because of their design. For example, most high chairs have removable trays with small gaps between the tray and seat area.

If your kid has super sticky hands or has been snacking on raisins or dried fruit before sitting down, these pieces of food can easily fall onto the floor, which may get mixed into other food items. Plus, it’s gross!

Provide plenty of distractions.

A common mistake parents make is assuming that the food will be good to eat later. Some even think the child will forget about throwing it or want it again. But this doesn’t work because kids can get frustrated with not being able to have their way.

To distract them from throwing food, try showing them how a toy works or giving them one of their toys for a bit. You could also cook them something else instead of letting them have what they were trying to get in the first place.

If, for example, your toddler wanted more spaghetti and you refused to serve it to her (because you’ve already given her enough), making homemade meatballs might be a better distraction.

Remove his plate.

This is one of the easiest ways to stop a toddler from throwing food. Remove his plate when he throws his food and put it back on when he stops.

Be careful not to make a big deal about this, as that will only make him want to throw more! If you choose this method, be sure not to use it as punishment or reward for anything else; otherwise, he’ll start associating it with something else entirely.

Keep your cool.

To stop your toddler from throwing food, you need to stay calm. Here’s what not to do:

  • Don’t criticize your child. She may be acting out because she’s having trouble expressing emotions. Criticizing her behavior will only make things worse. Encourage her by saying, “I know you’re mad at Grandma right now.”
  • Don’t give up! It is usual for children around this age to throw things when they are upset or frustrated; it doesn’t mean they won’t grow out of it eventually if they have good parents who keep their cool and teach them how to handle their emotions appropriately. 

It is essential to be patient, speak softly (without raising your voice), praise good behavior (instead of focusing on the bad), and avoid punishments that make children feel ashamed or embarrassed (which would only make them feel worse).

Try a different table position.

  • Try a different table position. While it’s convenient to sit at the kitchen table while you’re cooking, this may not be the best spot if your toddler is constantly throwing food on it. Instead, try moving your child’s high chair or booster seat over to the breakfast bar or another piece of furniture that’s further away from other items that could get ruined by flying food.
  • Ensure all utensils are clean and within reach of your child’s arms/hands. When toddlers throw food off their plates, they usually do so because they can’t reach their utensils, with them sitting too far away from them on either end of their tray (i.e., too close).

If this frequently occurs for you, you may want to place all their utensils closer together on one side of the plate, so they won’t need to move around as much when eating another item off their plate — they won’t need as much room between items.

Make him clean it up.

One of the best ways to teach a toddler how to clean up after himself is by making him do it.

You can use an apron, but you may want to wait until he’s older. For now, put on your gloves and get ready for some fun! First, make sure that there is water nearby. 

Put on an extra pair of shoes if what he’s throwing isn’t wet already.

Now come back into the room with him and tell him what you’re going to do: You’re going to play “Let’s Pretend.” Tell him about the magical place where food comes from – when people throw their food away at home, we act as if they were tossing it into Trashlandia, a magical place. 

It is awful when people throw their food on the floor instead of putting it in their mouth as it should have been – that’s wrong, too! It’s not good enough! So let me show you what happens next.

You might not be able to stop your toddler from throwing food, but you can create an environment that makes it less likely and keep a sense of humor about it.

You might not be able to stop your toddler from throwing food, but you can create an environment that makes it less likely and keep a sense of humor about it.

It’s a phase. As your child grows, their behavior will change. This is normal as they become independent and learn to do things themselves. It would help if you did not give up trying to stop the behavior. Keep reading tips on how to deal with this stage in your toddler’s development.

Playdates are the best way to prevent throwing food at home. If there aren’t any playdates scheduled, invite someone over! It might boost their self-confidence by showing them how well they can interact with others when they’re trying their most demanding (including eating).


With a bit of creativity and patience, you can help your toddler overcome this tendency. But remember that it’s not just about food—it’s also an expression of her independence and personality at this stage.

Kids develop skills first at home, so better teach them early so they can quickly adapt at school or daycare.