How Can We Stop Our Toddler From Hitting?

Hitting is a common problem among toddlers. However, it is important to understand why a child hits before trying to stop your toddler from hitting.

Toddlers are still developing their concept of themselves and their concept of others. At that stage of development, it is difficult for a toddler to understand exactly how hitting might harm another child or another person. Often times, a hit is not made out of aggression on the part of your toddler; it is more often a way for your toddler to try to make their point, or to express themselves. In some cases, hitting is just a part of toddler experimentation with ideas about cause and effect. If he hits his sister, your toddler gets to hear her scream, for example. For other toddlers, hitting is often just the result of regular playing gone bad.

Some tips to help stop your toddler from hitting include:

– Don’t hit your child back. Generally, your toddler isn’t trying to hurt his playmate. He needs to be told that the action is wrong, and if you hit your toddler back, it sends a mixed message to him that hitting is OK sometimes.

– Give her the benefit of the doubt. Again, your toddler may not be trying to misbehave. Explain that it is wrong to hit someone and offer a time out or other appropriate punishment.

– If your toddler is hitting to make a point or out of frustration, help him explore other options to solve the problem. If he hits a playmate that takes a toy, show him how to use words to get the toy back rather than his fist. Give him alternatives to hitting.

– Be aware of the signs. Your toddler will often repeat certain patterns; if you see that your toddler is getting angry or frustrated, stop him and redirect him before he gets to the hitting stage.

– Explain why biting is wrong. Do it simply and firmly. Look her in they eye and tell her that hitting hurts. We don’t hit. Tell your friend that you are sorry.

– Don’t reward hitting with attention. Give more attention to the child who has been hit.

Toddlers are at a difficult state in their lives. They are experiencing new freedoms, independence and abilities, but they also have a strong need for security. The way that you handle hitting and other inappropriate behaviors can make the difference on whether they continue the inappropriate behavior.


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