You might have noticed that your sweet, docile little baby has an inclination to turn into a very angry little bull as they grow up. Unfortunately, it’s not just your little one, many toddlers go through a phase where they throw tantrums and sometimes even hit their parents if they don’t get their way. This may extend to other kids and adults which can become a serious problem if it isn’t dealt with in the early stages. But keeping their hands to themselves is easier said than done. So, how do you stop toddler hitting? While their outburst may be embarrassing and frustrating, they are also a common developmental phase. Parents need to learn why it happens. This will enable them to redirect their toddler’s behavior and emotions in socially acceptable actions.
Why Does My Toddler Hit?
We’re sure that your 2 year old smacking you out of nowhere can leave you dumbstruck for many reasons. But for one thing, it is not an indication of your parenting style. Toddlers hit when they are frustrated and tired or they just can’t get a hold of their emotions. This is because toddlers have barely any impulse control and do not have well-developed language skills. In most situations, they are unable to voice out what is bothering them or why they are upset. So they settle for a nice jab. As normal as this behavior is, it is not acceptable. Waiting for them to grow out of this behavior is not the best course of action. You can start curbing it from day 1. Toddlers are far more inclined to stop doing something because they understand that it is unacceptable than understanding that it is harmful. That means your toddler does not need to understand that it is wrong in order to stop. They just need to know that you won’t tolerate it.
Here Are Some Tools To Prevent Your Toddler From Hitting
Toddler hitting often occurs when their frustration has peaked. So, it’s in your best interest to learn some of their triggers so you are better able to avoid situations that stress them out or are able to calm them down when they do unfold.
1. Acknowledge Their Emotions
This is probably the best tool you can teach your kids in order to help them stop hitting. Teach your toddlers how to recognize what they feel and validate their emotions. Sometimes all they need is a verbal confirmation of what they are feeling and someone who empathizes with them. If your 3 year old is agitated because someone else is playing with their favorite toys, tell them it’s okay to feel frustrated and angry. Acknowledge how hard it must be to wait but how patience is good and how they can wait for their turn instead of throwing a fit. It works! Helping them understand their emotions will enable them to move past it in healthy, positive ways. Here’s hoping!
2. Provide An Alternate Release
Sometimes your child just needs to let it out and they do so in physical ways. Physical activities can be great to work out aggression. They can punch a pillow or a punching bag, run, jump , or play a sport. Anything that will put all that excess energy to good use. If your child looks like they are close to throwing a tantrum, just ask them to jump 10 times. Chances are, they’ll calm down enough to be able to function properly. Come up with a list of alternatives with your toddler and encourage them to learn how to manage their emotions. Tell them that you believe they can do it. It will give them the motivation to work through their challenges. This technique is especially helpful for older toddlers who find it hard to express themselves completely or who find that talking isn’t enough. They need action and that’s okay!
3. Partner With Their Teachers
Kids tend to behave differently when they are at school than they are at home so asking their teacher if they exhibit the same behavior will be helpful in gauging what the next step would be. If both parent and teacher recognize certain triggers that frustrate the kid and make them aggressive, focus on the problem and find a solution. If your child seems aggressive at home but is generally cooperative and amicable at school, ask their teacher for help. Let them give you pointers on how to deal with their behavior or brainstorm with them to see how your toddler can deal with big emotions at home. This can include scheduling an earlier bedtime in order to get enough sleep and not be grumpy the next morning, having special alone time with parents or simply encouraging them to exhibit the same good behavior they do in school.
Parenting has its challenges and teaching your kids to behave in socially acceptable ways is definitely not an easy task. However, helping your child redirect their emotions in healthy ways will ensure that they finally stop wanting to lash out in physical ways. Have we missed out any tools to keep your child from hitting? Let us know in the comments section!