toddler hitting head with hand
Toddler Toddler Development

Toddler Hitting Head With Hand

It’s no surprise that toddlers go through an array of developmental, emotional and physical changes before they turn 3 years of age.

A Toddler hitting head with hand can seem very strange behaviour at first. Whilst the odd occasion can be trivial, more frequent occasions may be a cause for concern.

Toddlers display a variety of complicated communication styles making it increasingly difficult to pinpoint the reasons most behaviour. Consequently, this makes learning how to discipline a toddler even harder.

Related: Time Out For A Two-Year-Old

Toddler hitting head with hand: Reasons

Toddlers express themselves in a variety of ways using both verbal and non-verbal commands. When your toddler wants to communicate with you they will find a variety of ways to do it.

Unfortunately, these expressions can sometimes be misinterpreted. This is only intensified with the changes in developmental behaviour and the inability to express emotions effectively.

This may cause unwanted emotional distress along with tantrums, biting and hitting.

A Toddler Hitting Head With Hand Is A Way To Express Strong Emotions And Internal Tensions.

Toddlers have many triggers that can give you an insight into the reason they may hit themselves. These can include temper tantrums, being over and under-stimulated or being too tired and too hungry.

Once you recognise a pattern you can take proactive steps to keep the disruption to a minimum for both you and your child.

But what can you do to stop your toddler hitting head with hand?

Toddler hitting head with hand: Strategies

Safe Environment

First of all, creating a safe environment will help. Keep any harmful objects locked away and limit activity to rooms that are not toddler-proof. Install as much child-safe equipment that you can to keep your environment safe for toddlers to explore.

Get In The Way

Next, you can physically get in the way. Your baby cannot hit themselves if you are physically blocking them from doing so. You should remain calm but be stern and repeat yourself with clear and concise words:

“Sweetie, Hitting is not an appropriate way to express yourself. I’m going to stay right next to you to keep us both safe”

Try to distract or diffuse the situation with a combination of other activities and politely explain the dangers of hitting others and yourself. You can give your toddler another activity to do or ask them to vent their anger or feelings in a positive way.

Usually, a soft toy or a pillow to hit instead of themselves is a good way to do this.

Are They In Pain?

In some occasions, your toddler can be showing you they are in pain by hitting themselves. This is particularly common for common aches and pains that all toddlers experience. For example ear or tooth pains.

It’s usually easier to notice this type of behaviour. Look out for your baby hitting themselves on the same side and the same part of the face repeatedly.


In some rare cases, your toddler’s self-harm and toddlers hitting themselves can be linked to autism. This is usually the case when the hitting isn’t linked to tantrums, frustration or anything pain related.

Toddlers with developmental challenges can self-harm to soothe or for rhythmic stimulation. You may need to consult a paediatrician to get a professional evaluation.

It’s always important to learn your toddler’s self-expression tactics in depth so you can rule out any serious reason for self-harm and self hitting.

But remember If in doubt always seek professional help.

Toddler hitting head with hand: Prevention Techniques

If your toddler gets particularly tired at a certain time of day then ensure they have a routine nap time.

If they are showing hungry signs before a major meal then keep them topped up on healthy snacks beforehand.

If they are too overstimulated through excessive play then try and relax or calm your toddler down with soothing activities before they have a tantrum.

A toddler will hit their head with their hand if they are frustrated and have difficulty expressing these frustrations in a framework you can understand. This can result in your toddler hitting other people or themselves.

It’s a very logical way for them to express their discomfort whilst at the same time gain relief.  

Remember, It can be very difficult to cope with a toddler hitting head with hand, but with the proactive strategies above you will be more equipped to understand the reasons why.

Then after looking more deeply into the reasons behaving the behaviour you can provide the appropriate prevention measures to limit the behaviour definitively.

Ava Miller

Mom of 2 who enjoys blogging, travelling, cooking and spending time with Taylor & Olivia

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *