Does your toddler hit you in public places? It can be embarrassing, but as the elder you need to understand that they do not mean to harm you. Everyone expects a child to be innocent and well-behaved, but a toddler does not have developed speech skills. They cry, hit, and even make the innocent face to get what they need.
Once the toddler starts hitting, do not assume that you failed at the parenting aspect. Adults start wondering whether the toddler is going to grow up and become a fighter or an aggressive individual. Hold that thought! Firstly, you need to understand that nothing is wrong with your child. They are not aggressive, but the behavior needs a little bit of correction.
The question hovering over your mind is the following: What to do when your toddler hits you?
There are a number of ways to handle this situation. We understand that the toddler hitting people around them is an embarrassment for the parents. Imagine stepping into a seminar or a family function and the toddler hits you hard. Your instant reaction would be to get angry and you may punish them by hitting back.
Get rid of the thought that you need to punish the kid. Punishment is the worst way to deal with your child’s emotions. The kid needs you and does not want punishment! What does he/she really want? There is no mystery behind it. The toddler may not be able to speak or run across the room. During playtime, it is possible they might hit you and start laughing or make a poker face.
Let’s understand the possible reasons behind a toddler hitting their siblings, relatives or the parents.
Baby Likes Experimenting
Toddlers are experimental! You can call them the young scientists. They do not fear anything and you may find that they run towards danger. After they grow up and socialize, they understand the meaning of fear and how one should stay away from fire, animals and other dangerous things.
When his/her parents are sleeping, they might be thinking of all the ways to explore their surroundings. This is how they learn about things around them. If he/she hits someone continuously, stay calm and do not showcase rage.
Simply hold their hand and say these gentle words:
”No, this is not right.”
”I will not let you do this, baby.”
The worst thing you can do is to react in a wild manner. The toddler will not understand and they might even like the extreme reactions. Some kids might even start doing it to get your attention! Children are smart, and they could do anything to grab attention. It is best to stay calm and say NO to the action.
Once they do not get a wild reaction from you, he/she may find something else to do.
What should you do?
We listed some of the ways to handle the situation. A toddler hitting another person is quite normal, but it needs to stop. There are ways to do it and aggression is not going to help. Let’s skim through the ways to deal with a toddler who hits!
- If the toddler is getting aggressive in a situation, you must not reward him/her. For example: The toddler is constantly hitting their sibling to give them their toy, simply lift the child up and take him/her to another spot. Let them calm down and offer another toy. Redirecting the toddler is a good idea as it allows them to breathe.
- Maybe the child is hungry, tired or overwhelmed. Try to understand that the toddler cannot form sentences and has to voice his/her views/opinions through actions. Let them have alone time in some other room or the corner of a playground.
- The toddler might want to express their anger through hitting. How about giving them an alternative. Get a baby punching bag/toy or a pillow. When they try to hit a sibling or you, simply hold a pillow in front of you. This will help in taking out all the aggression.
- Is your toddler behaving the same way in school? Ask the teachers and try to find ways of handling the situation. School teachers get special training to deal with kids of all age groups. They might know of the best ways to deal with an aggressive kid. In case the toddler is behaving well in school and taking out their aggression in the home, it is possible that you are not spending enough time with them or they feel disturbed.
- Showcasing discomfort can help! When the toddler hits you or the siblings, say ‘OUCH’ out loud! This way they will learn that hitting actually hurts!
- Telling them that it is not okay is another way to deal with the situation. When it is playtime and the toddler keeps hitting, simply end the fun and walk away. The kid will know that hitting could upset you and play time will be over.
- If the toddler is getting ice cream or treats after every meal, just stop rewarding them the extra treats. When they hit you, take away the privileges such as cutting down TV time or not giving dessert. Rewarding them after they have hit someone will make them think that their action was legit!
Words from the Wise
These were some of the ways to handle the situation. The child is demanding attention or just wants to experiment. They might get some joy after hitting you, but telling them that it is not fine, would help.
Never ever hit a child or shout at them because they are kids. The question is – What to do when your toddler hits you? Be patient and use smart ways to calm them down.
Aggressive behavior does not help the kid in any way! We cannot be sure of the exact age when the kids start understanding the situation or even our language. In case you get too angry and hit your child, apologize to them for your behavior. Even if they do not understand your language, they would know the feeling.
Teach them how it is never acceptable to hit someone. They learn the social skills at home! Work on making the environment of the home positive and free from violence.