The Simple & Easy Way to Stop Toddler Hitting!
I can tell you that I’ve seen it everything with both of my children: hitting, kicking, biting, and spitting.
I understand your aggravation, no matter what toddler behaviour you’re dealing with.
Trying to dissuade a toddler from hitting themselves or another person is hard, especially if you’ve received contradicting advice from “the experts.”
That’s why I’m here to show you the simplest and most effective strategies to prevent your child from hitting.
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Is It Normal For Toddlers To Hit?
All children have three fundamental needs: power, experience, and connection. It is highly common for toddlers to hit because it can satisfy all three requirements at the same time.
Toddlers, it turns out, are extraordinarily efficient at addressing their requirements.
Let me explain why your child is hitting…
Hitting Is A Need For Connection
The youngster is hitting to convey a message to you or another person. Because the youngster is unable to communicate their words (thoughts and feelings), this technique of communication (i.e. hitting) occurs.
Because all children will continue to speak until they feel heard and understood, it is understandable why a youngster may hit again and again.
It is a simple method for the child to communicate. To stop the hitting, you must assist the youngster in finding a new manner to communicate (keep reading for suggestions).
Hitting Meets The Need Of Experience
When a child wonders, “I have this body…what can I do with it?” he or she is in need of experience. Children like experimenting with different ways to use their bodies.
You know what it’s like to swing your arms about and have them collide with something. A child, however, does not.
And, if you’ve ever read my post on neurological development in children aged six and under, you’ll know that it’s completely natural and necessary for the youngster to employ movement with their body.
It is now simply a matter of assisting your youngster in meeting the demand for experience within your bounds in order to put an end to the hitting (more on that in a minute).
Hitting Meets The Need For Power
When children are dissatisfied, angry, or unhappy, they have a strong need for power and control.
Hitting something is one technique to immediately satisfy your urge for power. A child can feel very powerful in this manner.
When a toddler lacks self-control, like all toddlers do, he or she will resort to using their body to feel dominant over others and objects.
I’ll walk you through how to help your child learn to meet their need for power without hitting someone else as I discuss how to stop your child from hitting.
How do you keep your child from hitting? Step-by-Step Instructions
Much of what I will show you is based on Language of Listening®, a three-part framework that I utilise and teach to parents just like you. It’s simple to apply and easy to remember when you’re dealing with an aggressive small child in the heat of the moment.
Find The Root Cause
Because all children will continue to speak until they feel heard and understood, it is critical that you identify the source of the striking.
- Here are a few instances…
- Boredom I attempt to make things around the house a little more interesting. Make a tonne of movement activities. Dance parties are always a good time!
- Frustration, Anger, and Upset I try to echo back what I believe my child is attempting to accomplish or say. Validate what your youngster is demonstrating to you.
- Seeking attention I attempt to provide more uninterrupted quality time.
- Tired, I begin to sleep in try to recover (i.e. Helping toddlers fall asleep fast and strong toddler bedtime routines.)
- I utilise infant sign language, visual routine cards, and try to repeat back what I assume my child is trying to say due to a lack of language skills.
- Experimenting Sometimes children are simply pushing the boundaries. I’ll check in to make sure I’m setting clear boundaries and assisting my child in finding alternatives to meet their underlying need.
In the meantime, here are some possible responses:
- I recommend physically standing between the child and whoever the youngster is hitting and saying something like this:
- “You’re upset and want to strike her, and that’s not good with me.” Instead, rip this paper or smack this pillow.”
- In the heat of the moment, the most important task is to transfer the child’s attention to something they can hit instead. When your child begins to calm down, they will be much more responsive to guidance.
Assist the child in finding a healthy approach to address their needs
When you know which need your child is attempting to satisfy — experience, power, or connection – the alternative your child chooses must satisfy the underlying need.
If the child is attempting to meet a need for experience or needs greater mobility, assist the child in finding methods to move their body in a way that you are comfortable with.
When the youngster is attempting to satisfy his or her need for power, assist the child in finding items over which he or she has control. The more options that can work within your constraints, the better!
When the child is working to meet the need for connection, speak the things you observe where you explain what the child is thinking, feeling, doing, or saying without asking questions, fixing, or passing judgement.
This makes children feel heard and understood. It’s the foundation of connection, putting you on your child’s side and allowing them to open up to your instruction.
Bring Out Kindness and Love
All children act in accordance with their self-perceptions. So, whenever you notice your youngster being nice and loving, name a STRENGTH. This is an example of something the child accomplished well based on observation of his or her conduct.
Consider the following scenario:
“You and your sister split the toy. That demonstrates your kind nature.”
Similarly, when the child is angry or agitated but does not attack, it is critical to highlight a STRENGTH, such as…
“You’re enraged AND you didn’t strike. That demonstrates your self-control!”
Those STRENGTHS will guide your child’s future behaviours. When you name a STRENGTH after something you enjoy, the child can recognize the trait in themselves. The proof is visible to the child!
This is how you begin to instil self-control in children: by observing how they already demonstrate it.
Toddler Hitting Frequently Asked Questions
Why do toddlers hit others for no reason?
There is always a rationale for what children do. There may appear to be no cause at times, yet there is. Consider which underlying need the child is trying to satisfy — power, experience, or connection – and you’ll be able to figure out the best strategy to help your child stop hitting.
Why do toddlers hit themselves?
When you see a youngster attempting to harm themselves, it is a clear scream for assistance from you. And it is up to us, as adults, to intervene and assist the youngster in expressing their feelings. Parents can begin by validating why their child is sad or frustrated. Parents can then intervene and assist the youngster in finding a different way to communicate their dissatisfaction without injuring themselves. Finally, once your children begin to use an alternative, give it a STRENGTH name, such as this… ”Instead of hitting yourself, you hit the cushion. That demonstrates self-love.”
How to respond when toddler hits mom only?
When a toddler only slaps his mother, numerous things happen. To begin with, the child may believe that mom is a secure place to let down his or her guard and behave out. It’s understandable that most children act out more around their mothers, especially if the child is trying hard all day at daycare to hold it together. Mom is a secure haven where the child understands that no matter what, mom will love him or her. This could also be a strong cry for more time with mom. On the other hand, this could indicate a sense of dissatisfaction or impotence with mum. If the child has an unfulfilled desire for power, read the suggestions above for how to assist them meet it within your boundaries.
Toddler hitting at daycare?
While you have no influence over what happens at daycare, you may begin at home to assist your child to develop self-discipline. My best advice is to work with your child at home using role-playing or doll play to assist them in practise dealing with upsets without hitting. Second, during the toddler years, you should place a strong emphasis on vestibular and proprioception input to help toddlers learn to regulate their bodies. Third, limit screen time because it can worsen hitting behaviours because children would naturally act out what they see on television in order to make sense of it.
What do you do when your toddler hits another child?
It is critical to immediately walk between the two youngsters OR place one arm between the two children. If your child is suffering with striking and it is becoming a habit, you should keep a tight eye on them so you can intervene quickly. If you can’t physically position your body between the children, make a loud noise like “whoa!” As you approach the child to physically step in, draw attention to yourself. After then, guide your child’s behaviour toward a soft object. Consider the Three Basic Needs outlined previously. Finally, if your child struggles with hitting, it’s a sign that they need a lot of role play and practise avoiding hitting when you’re not in a hurry.
What You Should Do Next:
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- Easily get kids to listen – the FIRST time. No yelling or reminding…not even once!
- Put an end to daily power struggles. Bedtime became a breeze, and all the dawdling, chore wars, sibling rivalry, and mealtime meltdowns disappeared.
- Reduce backtalk by HALF! It’s simple once you know the secrets of these two ‘buckets.’
- Say goodbye to punishments that DON’T work. There’s a 5-step formula that works WAYYY better than time-outs.
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