Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Toddlers in the Throwing Things Stage

Our little E is now nearing two years old.  Just like his older two sisters, he has reached a stage where he likes to throw food on the floor.  It is a frustrating stage to go through since things can get messy.  However, it is a normal part of development and he will eventually grow out of it.

Why do they like to throw things so much?
Simple answer is because they can.  This is a rich stage of new discoveries and growth both with motor skills as well cognitive skills.  In a simple sense, they have discovered gravity.  Things always fall down and never up!  They also realize they have power to do certain things.  Perhaps it is interesting and fun to see all the reactions they get from doing certain actions.

How best to respond as caregivers?
Tough but it is always advised to stay calm.  In fact if your response is calm, collected and consistent every time they may get over the novelty of throwing food faster.  You can try to convey to them what is ok to throw and what is not ok to throw.  During play time, they can throw balls or soft objects as long as it is not towards anybody.  During mealtimes, praise them when they do not throw food on the floor and put it in their mouths instead.  Depending on the age and maturity of the child you can try giving consequences... like having them pick up the food or giving them a short time out.  Patience is required and at the end of the day, the phase has to run its course.  There is an end.