Toddlers hitting – what can we do?

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How do you stop children hitting?
How do you stop children hitting?

I read an article a week or so ago about a very pretty little girl who had started hitting other children, and it got me thinking…

I remember when my two both went through this phase.

Its not an easy thing to deal with, but it’s also critical to get it right. How you deal with it can shape their reactions to not quite getting their own way.

And that’s a critical part of a toddler starting to understand self control as they get that little bit bigger.

Sharing properly; mine Mine MINE

In a similar way to the girl in the article, it was all about them expressing themselves, and to a certain extent, standing up for what they felt was right.

Someone took my toy, so I am going to hit or push to get it back.

Occasionally, children can bite in the same circumstances. We mothers know how embarrassing and painful that can be, both for us, and for the child concerned. Nobody likes to be somebody’s starter.

My kids are fiercely independent, just like Leila in the article.

They don’t like me setting their boundaries. They particularly don’t like me sticking to them.

Tantrums are still possible now when we are tired and worn out. And that’s not just me.

I love their independence, its what makes them my children as I am never short of an opinion or two. I guess we are here to teach them that hitting because we feel something is mine and we must have it back, isn’t how it works.

Overcoming Toddler Hitting

I laughed when it first happened too; it was two-year old toddler handbags after all…

However, I’d have stopped laughing pretty fast if it happened more and more – and you start to be the one people refer to as “the mother whose kid is a bit of a thug….”

We managed to stop the hitting by:

  • Establishing eye contact immediately, getting down to their level, and explaining it wasn’t appropriate behaviour. Often accompanied by a calming hand on the shoulders
  • Confiscating the offending item causing the confrontation,explaining clearly why it was being removed and when it was going to come back
  • Employing “timeouts” at home – the house rule being that “we don’t hit”
  • Using stickers and reward charts focusing on improving this behaviour, for example no fighting / pushing or kind hands (when the child is old enough, typically over the age of two)
  • Picking the child up and moving them away to a safe place out of the situation and ignoring them until they calm down. This is potentially a good tactic to use if the child is hitting the carer or parent.

I’m not saying these are the right and the only way to tackle this; its just worked for us.

How have you kerbed hitting in your children? Any other tips to add? Please do comment below or join in with our Child Behaviour forum and ask questions on the topic?

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