When you're the parent of a toddler, you'll often get used to dealing with all sorts of unwanted behaviors -- tantrums, clinginess and annoying habits involving food and drinks. If your child is spitting out juice on a regular basis, you may be frustrated with cleaning up the sticky messes. Try a few key tactics to get him to stop, and you can spare your kitchen floor and your sanity.
Consider the drink's temperature and texture. Your toddler may be sensitive to cold temperatures or thick textures. Try offering him a different type of drink or keep the juice at room temperature. It's OK to drink juice at room temperature if that's the way it was sold in the store. Although, it may be easiest to use single-serve juice boxes, since most juices need to be refrigerated after it's opened.
Take away the juice. If your child is not speaking clearly just yet, it may be difficult to distinguish whether he doesn't like the juice or whether he's playing a game. In either case, if he spits it out, take it away from him.
Replace juice with water. Juice is not essential to a child's diet, but adequate hydration is. Start giving him plain water, which if spilled or spit out, will be easier to clean up. He may dislike water even more than juice, but when his body needs hydration, he will likely drink it.
Switch to a sippy cup or a "big kid" cup. Changing your child's method of drinking may help him forget about his bad habit.
Have him help clean up the mess. Let your child know that making messes with juice gives you and him less time for other activities. Have him wipe up his mess, and as he is cleaning, be sure to explain that he is responsible for cleaning up the messes that he chooses to make.
Talk to your child's pediatrician if the problem persists, especially if he's demonstrating other eating and drinking problems. About 25 percent of kids have some type of feeding disorder, according to a study conducted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Fortunately, the issues can often be resolved with behavioral and medical therapy.
- Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images