Throwing Food 2

Posted April 20, 2009

Hi Kitty,

My daughter (who is close to 18 months now) has always thrown things.  Her food, her toys, her sippy ... you name it.  Now, I feel like she should be past this phase (or at least getting there) but it seems it is getting worse.  She launches her sippy and gets close to breaking things, she always throws her food, and our dog is starting to get over-fed!  When I tell her "no", she just gets mad and throws more.  I eventually take all her food away, and only give her little bits at a time, but that is also frustrating.  What can we do to help stop this?

Throwing will stop most quickly if purposefully ignored.  She is doing it to get a reaction (it works!) so the reactions have to stop.  Put the dog away during her meals. Keep her sippy cup on the counter and give it to her when she asks, and then put it back on the counter until the day comes when she realizes if she throws it it goes into the fridge.  You needn't comment on that, just do it and let her fuss.

Throwing food is a sign she isn't really hungry and the meal needs to end.  Saying "NO" simply makes it more interesting for her.  If the food is going over, ignore the food, but end the meal saying "It looks like you are done."  Get her down, even kicking and screaming, and ignore all that. Pick up the food in a few minutes.

Next meal you may observe (from the corner of your eye, only) that she does not throw as much.  If she does, end the meal again, without any big reaction on your part.

Don't allow any more food until the next scheduled meal.  She'll survive and she'll slowly be learning a new rhythm.

When she throws toys, try not to see and not to react.  The fun of doing it will gradually disappear for her - since nobody will be watching.

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(2) comments

Filed under: Discipline, Feeding and Eating

Toilet Training for Pre-school

Posted April 10, 2009

Dear Kitty,

My 3-year old daughter is registered for preschool in September.  Of course, the preschool wants her to be potty trained and we've been working on it but some days she gets it and some days she doesn't.  I've told her she can't go to preschool unless she is using the potty, but now she is saying she doesn't want to go to preschool.  Help!

You aren't the only parent beginning to worry.  This week's Toilet Learning seminar registration is larger than at other times of the year. I'm sure this is no coincidence.

Preschool 'by-laws' are gradually evolving, thank goodness.  Some are still very strict but most are reasonable.  If your child has a thin pull-up on for some weeks most teachers will turn a blind eye.  I'm not suggesting you lie about how complete the toilet training job is, but I do suggest you be...vague in your answer.  "It is coming along very well, though I will send her in a pull-up at first just to save you any time or trouble."

Luckily, children usually don't poop during the 2 hour of preschool.  They are distracted by activities and usually wait until they get home.  If they happen to pee in their pull-up during this time, no one need be the wiser.  Tell her if this happens, you can change her when she gets home.

Your daughter's claim that she doesn't want to go to preschool (because of strings attached) is the best reminder for parents not to use this as a threat.  Instead, you can say "You have a very smart body.  I know that.  Your body is working hard to figure out peeing and pooping.  It's doing a good job and that is all we need to know."

I wish we didn't have artificial deadlines imposed by school and I wish we didn't have peer or generational pressure from people keeping track of eachchild's progress.  Nearly every parent I know approaches this so-called milestone with some trepidation.  We need to remember that every body gets it eventually and when or how should remain your family's private business.

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Filed under: Toilet Learning

Building Resilience with Games

Posted April 1, 2009

This excellent question appeared recently on the ParentsNet discussion board:

I have a 5 year old who is, typically, into playing games (card games, clue, parcheesi etc.). She plays with her friends and us, her parents. When I play with her, I don't try to win, nor do I try to lose, figuring that she will win some and lose some. Which is how it happens. Twice now though, she has reacted to losing in a negative way. The first time, she kicked the Clue board, threw the pieces across the carpet and was very very mad. After briefly explaining that she was being a poor loser and all that entails, I suggested she head upstairs for some quiet time. Today, she lost at Snap and she snapped. I reacted by reminding her that losing is part of playing and she wasn't losing well and that we wouldn't be playing any more games today but we could try again tomorrow. She got really really mad, I got lots of evil eyes and sour looks. While I can empathize how hard it is to lose at the age of 5, I'm wondering if there's anything else I should be doing or saying to discourage the bad losing? Kitty, what are your recommendations on this topic?

Some day you may appreciate the humor in the picture you've painted - Clue board and pieces flying - but I'm sure in the moment it's a very unpleasant scene. It's a good reminder for parents that kids at 5 years of age are likely to be going through a highly competitve stage.  For one thing, it's somewhat new for them to understand the complexities and rules of playing games any more sophisticated than bingo and then on top of that, we ask them to be a good loser. This usually reaches beyond their scope.

I think you handled the situation very well, telling her there won't be any more games today but we can try again tomorrow.  Gradually, in an effort to keep the games going, she'll at least lower the level of steam when she loses, though for a while her disappointment may feel profound to her.

As time goes on, I bet you'll observe her being able to look back and say ...well, at least I won last time (and eventually) ...maybe next time I'll win!

A long time from now, you may even hear "Good for you, mom!"

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Filed under: Play

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