Q: What should I do when my toddler throws food on the floor?

A: As soon as your kid starts flinging food, end the meal and get him ready for the next activity. Toddlers usually throw food because they're bored. With their short attention span, 1-year-olds will last 15 minutes -- tops -- at the dinner table. The trick is to keep meals short (even if it means you have to eat later or take turns with your spouse), pay attention while he eats, and respond consistently when he starts tossing his carrots. For example, take him out of the high chair and say, "Food is for eating, not throwing." Then find a more productive outlet for your child's energy ("Let's build a block tower together"). If you follow this plan, your cleanups should get easier within a few weeks. --Jeannette Moninger

Copyright 2008. Used with permission from the February 2008 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2009

Answered by Parents Team