4 positive discipline ideas for toddler hitting

by Kelly Shealer on July 26, 2016

Share Button

DSC06544Hitting is a normal toddler behavior that often begins between ages 1 ½ and 2 years old. There could be many different reasons, including the child being angry but unable to express it or you being unable to understand what he’s trying to express, a life change such as a new sibling, or simply the child wanting to explore what her hand can do and what happens when she hits.

So, what can parents do about it?

Shortly after my son’s 2nd birthday and right around the time my next baby was born, my son began hitting. He would hit his brother when he was angry, and sometimes he would hit my husband and me playfully, which was still something we wanted to discourage.

We tried a variety of different strategies to prevent it and teach him not to hit. Here are 4 positive discipline ideas to try if your toddler hits:

  1. We tried to find new, creative things to do with his hands throughout the day, such as teaching hand-clapping games, different hand gestures like thumbs-up, or sign language — just something to engage the hands in a more productive and fun manner. Sometimes, if I saw he was about to hit playfully, I would try to high-five him instead.
  2. We also did a lot of soft, nurturing touch with him, like rubbing his arms, and made that more of a part of our day.
  3. I found that it was really beneficial to give him more outlets to get out some of his physical energy: running outside, finding things that he could throw, and letting him hit a pillow.
  4. It was important to me to model empathy and try to show that hitting can hurt. If he did hit us, I would often make an exaggerated sad face and say how hurt I was. Once we were out of that immediate moment of his anger — or silliness, in some cases — I would remind him that hitting hurts, that we shouldn’t hit others, and that we have to use soft touch. If he was really angry, we’d talk about other concrete ways that he could express that anger instead. We made a point to model this with his stuffed animals. I have a video of my son when he was two where he hits his stuffed panda and says, “Slap panda.” After a second, he rubs the panda’s arm gently, hugs it, and says, “No, hug. Hug panda!”

What’s most important during a hitting situation is to stay calm and to remember that it is normal part of toddler development. It’s a phase that will pass, and the 4 ideas above may be some techniques to help it pass a little more quickly and smoothly.

Share Button

{ 0 comments }

Share Button

Editor’s note: There are continually media reports coming out about parenting approaches, including Attachment Parenting. Some are affirming. Others are worrying. It’s important that we know how to read between the lines on media reports regarding Attachment Parenting so that we can make informed decisions. That’s why Attachment Parenting International compiled this sampling of trusted resources for parenting information, in addition to consumer media guidelines and additional guidelines for reading scientific studies:

pixabay - statue trustAttachmentParenting.org

TheAttachedFamily.com

AttachmentParenting.org/Blog

AttachedAtTheHeart.com

AttachmentParenting.ca

AhaParenting.com

AlfieKohn.org

Alice-Miller.com

AllanSchore.com

AskDrSears.com

BabywearingInternational.org

BeyondConsequences.com

BillCorbett.info

BradleyBirth.com

ChildTrauma.org

CNVC.org

ConnectionParenting.com

Continuum-Concept.org

Cosleeping.ND.edu

DanielHughes.org

DrDanSiegel.com

DrJayGordon.com

DrMariaBlois.com

EnjoyParenting.com

EmpathicParenting.org

FamiliesForConsciousLiving.org

FamilyAndHome.org

FoxBeingThere.com/blog

GettingTheLoveYouWant.com

Gottman.com

HolisticMoms.org

ICAN-Online.org

ImprovingBirth.org

InaMay.com

InfantMasageUSA.org

Infant-Parent.com

ISISonline.org.uk

KathleenKendall-Tackett.com

KellyMom.com

KindredMedia.org

LLLI.org

LamazeInternational.org

LetTheBabyDrive.com

LifeCenter.org.il

Mothering.com

NaturalChild.org

NeufeldInstitute.com/blog

NurturingParenting.com

Overindulgence.org

PBS.org/ThisEmotionalLife

ParentingWithoutPowerStruggles.com

ParentsLifeLine.com

PathwaysToFamilyWellness.org

PeterHaiman.org

PinkyMcKay.com

PlayfulParenting.com

PositiveDiscipline.com

ProfessionalParenting.ca

Progressive-Parenting.com

RaffiNews.com

RodK.net

StopHitting.com

TheBabyBond.com

Share Button

{ 1 comment }

Reading between the lines, Part 2: Get the Most Out of a Scientific Study

July 19, 2016
Share Button

Editor’s note: There are continually media reports coming out about parenting approaches, including Attachment Parenting. Some are affirming. Others are worrying. It’s important that we know how to read between the lines on media reports regarding Attachment Parenting so that we can make informed decisions. That’s why Attachment Parenting International (API) created consumer media guidelines […]

Share Button
Read the full article →

Reading between the lines, Part 1: Media Analysis Guidelines for Parents

July 18, 2016
Share Button

Editor’s note: There are continually media reports coming out about parenting approaches, including Attachment Parenting. Some are affirming. Others are worrying. It’s important that we know how to read between the lines on media reports regarding Attachment Parenting so that we can make informed decisions. That’s why Attachment Parenting International (API) created these consumer media […]

Share Button
Read the full article →

Growing up in an attached family, learning the power of stimulus

July 16, 2016
Share Button

My home life was rich in attachment — and stimulus. Attachment begins with the creation of emotionally close, consistent relationships between parents and children in all child development stages. Then, in order that the child can develop his abilities properly, stimulus is essential. From an early age, I was inserted into the great world of […]

Share Button
Read the full article →

Own the road you travel

July 12, 2016
Share Button

After giving birth to my first son, I made choices and decisions based on my instincts and the purest love I’d ever known. I wasn’t following another’s footsteps. I wasn’t asking for advice. I wasn’t questioning my abilities or my commitment to this miraculous gift of life and love. I wasn’t afraid. I experienced love […]

Share Button
Read the full article →

10 tips for a positive car ride with your baby

July 5, 2016
Share Button

Often times, we either hear that a baby absolutely loves going into the car and naps instantly, or that the baby screams and cannot stand the car seat, thus making travel a complete nightmare for parents. You may experience both sides of this scenario as babies go through phases of learning and growing. I have […]

Share Button
Read the full article →

3 tips for connection in the summertime

June 29, 2016
Share Button

Summertime can bring a variety of opportunities to connect with our children and enjoy new experiences together. It especially can be a time to reconnect with a child who has been at school all day throughout the year and is now home each day. Here are 3 suggestions for deepening the family connection during the […]

Share Button
Read the full article →