How to Handle a Toddler Playing with Food at the Table: 4 Steps
Edit Article

Toddlers are known for their messy eating habits.

Not again! Your toddler has just thrown his peas and corn across the table. Then he squishes slices of peaches in between his fingers and throws them on the floor. Toddlers don't always have the table manners necessary to have a peaceful family meal, but playing with food as a toddler is a normal and healthful activity. However, you can make an effort to slowly shape his eating habits.


  1. 1
    Cut your toddler's apples, peaches, pears and orange slices into single bites and keep them on a separate place she doesn't have access to. Put one bite on her plate at a time so she can't throw food and paint the kitchen floor with fruit pieces.
  2. 2
    Avoid laughing when your toddler flings food across the table into your hair. It will encourage your toddler to keep misbehaving because he gets a reaction out of you. Teach your older children to ignore the behavior as well. While it might seem hilarious to your 10-year-old when mashed potatoes come flying across the table, he isn't the one responsible for cleaning the mess up.
  3. 3
    Give your toddler utensils. Utensils keep your toddler's hands busy so she isn't as tempted to play with her food. They'll also help her build her fine-motor skills as she practices the pincer grasp. Don't be worried if more food makes it on her face or table than in her mouth.
  4. 4
    End the meal if your toddler continues to play with his food. You might be hesitant to take your toddler away from the table because you're afraid he'll digest his stomach during the night, but he will be fine. Your toddler will connect the act of throwing food with being taken away from the table, which should reduce the frequency or eliminate the act of tossing carrots across the table.

Article Info

Categories: Education and Communications

Did this article help you?


an Author!

Write an Article