While it might be extremely frustrating to have a toddler throwing everything around, know that in doing so, your child is exploring Science concepts like gravity and cause and effect. At first, your child may accidentally drop the spoon from the high chair, but soon after it becomes a repetitive behavior which can make an adult lose their patience.
Why is my child throwing things?
1. Your child is most likely throwing things because they are exploring the trajectory schema. They enjoy watching movement and making things move.
2. Your child might also be throwing to get your attention
3. Another reason for throwing might be a feeling of frustration - whether they don’t like what you have offered, can’t use it the ‘right’ way or can’t communicate.
If you are wondering what the best way to stop them is, the short answer is that you shouldn’t, instead you can redirect them. It might be difficult to be calm when they have made a huge mess, so here are some tips to help you
1. Create a "Yes" Space
In this space have items that are safe for your child to explore, and perhaps even throw without any adult intervention
2. Support them
While they try to tip a whole box over or knock down a tower of blocks, help them do so. You can say, “I see you want to have all the blocks on the floor. Let me help you. But remember, you will have to pick them up with me as well!” If they are trying to empty stuff in an unsafe area or outside where it might not be clean, you can say, “Let’s take this to the bed, so you can explore it safely!” Giving them the opportunity to fulfill their need to throw while reminding them you are there to support is beneficial.
3. Encourage clean up
Have an accessible space for your child to be able to put things back where they belong. Have limited items out at a time, so that clean up is not overwhelming.
4. Make it a language activity
Talk about what is happening using onomatopoeia - Crash! The tower fell down!
5. If the mess is not a big deal, take a deep breath and wait for them to clean up. Avoid picking up after them right away!
6. However, if they are throwing important documents or fragile/ expensive items, put your hand out and in a calm but firm voice say, “Stop” and redirect them. Later talk about what they did and how that’s not okay!
5 activities to support your child in fulfilling their need to throw
1. Balls in a basket
Take some balls in a basket and have your child stand a few feet away from a laundry basket. On the count of three, have them throw the balls into the basket. You can take turns to do so, cheer when the ball goes into the basket and encourage them to try again if it doesn’t.
Blow up balloons of different shapes and colors. Your child can either use their palms or a book to tap the balloon and hit it up. You can also tie the balloon to a long ribbon attached to a chair. As the balloon moves around your child can access it from different sides.
3. Pop Up Pegs
While the toy is used for color matching and c grasp when your toddler is smaller. It can be used by older toddlers to make the pegs jump up high. Making pegs jump up high helps finger strength while they have fun
The simple act of blowing bubbles supports a child in the trajectory schema. Whether it is blowing the bubbles themselves or following them around to try and pop them, you must give this activity a try! Bubbles also support visual tracking as your child follows their movement with their eyes. They develop gross motor skills and hand eye coordination as they run around trying to pop them.
5. Ball Hammer
Provide your child with a hammer and balls to redirect their urge to hit. When toddlers want to hit what works best is providing them with material which is safe to the kid.
6. Cars and ramps:
Create simple ramps with cardboard and place them at an incline using a chair or a sofa. Provide your child with some cars to drive up and down the ramp. You can draw road lines, add stop lights and even a finish line to turn it into a race, thus increasing the excitement. Alternatively you can use the cars tracker from Curious Cub.
7. Marble painting
In a flat tray, add a plain sheet of paper. Dip marbles in different colored paint and add them to the tray. Your child can tilt the tray from side to side to create a beautiful artwork. After the paint has dried, take the paper out of the tray. You can display their masterpiece or use it to make a card for a loved one.
At 7 months your child can gently push the ball with your guidance. At about 10 months you will start to find them doing this independently. Kicking a ball teaches the child how their action of kicking the ball made it move. By 18 months your child may choose to kick harder or softer to manipulate the ball differently the next time. Introducing them to sports early i.e watching you or their older cousins play is beneficial at this age.
9. Animal cushion toss
Take the fabric animal beam bags from Level 10 Montessori box ( Animal Home Toy). Place a few baskets at a distance from your child and encourage them to throw these into the baskets.