Toddlers undergo complex psychological, behavioural changes every day. Developmentally they are changing at an alarming rate. Think back just 1 year ago at how different your child was both physically and mentally.
Related: Toddler Cries About Everything
Toddler Hitting Others For No Reason Concerns
Your toddler is learning to cope with a variety of emotions and some of these emotions can be very difficult to understand.
Fear, anxiety, pain, jealousy sadness & anger are the most difficult.
When your toddler tries to find expression for these emotions they may come up against a verbal wall. Their mind has not yet formed all the necessary words to express emotions but they are still feeling them.
This causes immense friction and disruption which if left untreated can cause a variety of negative behaviours including hitting, biting, spitting, kicking and acting out.
When your toddler hit others for no reason they are usually not acting out due to spite, instead they are trying to express themselves
It is this inability to express that is the major reason for the toddler hitting phase.
Toddler Hitting Others For No Reason: What To Do!
1. Keep Calm
Calmness is key.
You will be unable to discipline your child if you are unable to restrain your emotions. Instead, try and stay calm and be in control of the situation.
This will also help your toddler see first hand how to express themselves when they are feeling angry.
Children will mimic what you do and say both verbally and non-verbally so by controlling your emotions you will be showing the best example
Remember calm babies do not lash out at other people.
Is your toddler hitting others at daycare? If so, be prepared to take action.
2. Explain Emotions
Learning how to stop a 2 year old from hitting and throwing things requires patience and plenty of repetition.
You will need to explain the emotions that your child may be unable to explain. This will help to see that you understand what they are going through and can empathise with their concerns.
Showing empathy is a smart strategy to limit the toddler hitting phase.
For example, your son is playing with a toy car and a bigger child grabs it out of his hand and runs off. Clearly, he’s upset, but before he tries to lash out you can say this:
“It must have been very upsetting for you to see someone take that toy car without asking, I understand that you felt sad and angry towards your them. Let’s go and remind them to share…“
By explaining the emotions your toddler is feeling, you provide an emotional framework for them to connect with.
Ultimately, this will give them the ability to make sense of that emotional state and a stepping stong to react correctly next time.
It’s a smart way to limit your toddler hitting others for no reason.
3. Remove Your Child
If your toddler does not respond to your calm and reassuring approach then you may need to remove them from the situation completely. Especially for a toddler hitting others at daycare.
Toddler who hit others for no reason are usually in an aggressive emotional and it’s very difficult to get through to them in that state.
Instead, remove them from the situation and find a calming less social place to get to the bottom of things.
This will help you get to the bottom of the reason behind the disruption and give them a reminder that aggressive violent behaviour will cut playtime short.
4. Keep The Peace
Learning how to stop a 2 year old from hitting and throwing things involves practice parenting and leading by example. If your little one has hit another child then you will need to apologise to that child directly (and maybe the parents too)
Let them see you do this and remind him to apologise aswell. Your toddler will eventually understand that if they hit other people they will need to apologise for it.
This is a great way to teach empathy and a smart way for them to learn accountability.
Remember, getting over the toddler hitting phase involves you actively showing your toddler the right thing to do and say to others.
5. Express Your Pain
You need to show your child that hitting is wrong by letting him face up to the results of the hitting.
Express to your toddler how you feel.
‘Sweetie, you just hit me, hitting is wrong and it really hurts’.
Show him that his actions are leading to your pain and be very obvious about it. Young children are still learning the cause and effect of their actions. As they grow older you will need to remind them of this so they can form their own logical conclusion.
5. Use Words Instead
Is your toddler hitting others for no reason? Toddlers should continually be reminded to vent their expressions without having to use their hands.
Encourage your child to use their words to express how they feel.
For example “The next time you get mad because your sister takes your toy without asking, I want you to say “I’m upset, please don’t take it’
Over time this will reinforce their vocabulary and give them a framework to use for expression.
The more times you remind them to “use their words” the shorter the toddler hitting phase will be.
6. Breath In, Breath Out!
Giving them a safe environment to calm down cna be a smart way to limit aggression.
As simple as it sounds this does really have a big effect on frustrated children. Their little hearts are beating so fast when they are in a rage and it’s difficult to get them to calm down no matter how many times you try.
Try and get them to take 3 deep breaths in and 3 deep breaths out.
Do it with them.
It should slow their breathing and heart rate down to a more normal level and if you do it enough times they may even start to do it by themselves when they are feeling overwhelmed.
Put all these strategies into play will help to reduce hitting and should build a better framework for expression.