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Ask Grandma Maggie

Parenting & Childcare Advice
Peggy Moss (1933-2014), also known as Grandma Maggie, penned a parenting column on this site for many years. Back by popular demand, we are republishing the column, sharing with you the best of Grandma Maggie’s parenting and childcare advice.
Unfortunately Grandma Maggie is no longer able to take questions.

Help! Baby throwing food

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My 4 year old, Kirsi, won’t stop throwing her food. I don’t know what to do! My son Britt never did this and it child-658006_640frustrates me. I will give Kirsi her food and she will throw it onto the floor. I am on a tight budget so I can’t always be making her more food until she eats it. I don’t want her to go hungry either. One time at dinner when I was especially low on money, we were at the last of our food until tomorrow morning at pay day and I told her this but she threw her food anyway. This got me so mad that I spanked her three times. I completely detest anything like a spanking so I felt very guilty. She won’t even talk to me now. How should I tell her I’m sorry? How can I make this behavior stop?

Dear friend,

At four years of age this child should be able to follow the rules. I would sit her down and tell her what the consequences of her actions will be and then you must be consistent and stick with those consequences.  My suggestion would be to tell her when she throws her food on the floor, she will have to leave the table and wait until the next meal. Then remove her from the table. No child will starve if they miss a meal or two. Be firm and don’t yell. I would venture a guess that after three or four times the problem would be solved.. If it takes longer, so be it.

I think she might be doing this for attention, but that part is not for sure. As for the spanking, you do want to avoid that at all costs. Tell her you are sorry and you don’t want to do that anymore so you now have new rules in the house and this is what they are. Be the adult. There are no choices. It’s either eat or excuse yourself from the table until the next meal. Throwing food is totally unacceptable.

Good luck,
Grandma Maggie