Are you desperate to find out how to stop a toddler from hitting? As parents, many of us have been where you are now. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that there isn’t a single solution that’ll work for every child. But you already know that by now, especially if you’ve got two or more kids.
That said, there are a few ways that work better than others. But which one you choose depends on why your toddler is hitting in the first place, which itself may take a bit of detective work to find out if it hasn’t happened before in the same sort of context.
Just remember: while you’re doing that detective work, make sure you give more attention to the child who was hit than the one doing the hitting. Why? Because seeking your attention (even negative attention) is a very common reason for toddler hitting in the first place. It needs to be addressed by meeting the child’s core needs in a more positive way.
If the reason is apparent, like one toddler grabbing a toy from another, then you’ve got a golden opportunity to teach verbal diplomacy (funny word for a toddler, but even the clumsy talking of a 2-year-old is better than hitting, right?).
And if that doesn’t work well enough, you’ll need to become more vigilant in fending off fights before they even start. Just like us, toddlers will often have patterns that lead to outbursts. You’ve just got to notice them in time and take action to separate the kids before chaos ensues.
Failing that, it’s important that you avoid outward frustration since that’s another form of attention. Whatever your reaction, if you’ve got an emotional charge to it, that’s exciting in its own way to your toddler. So do your best to stay level-headed even if you need to vent for an hour to your parent friends on the phone later (when your toddler is sleeping of course!).
Breathe deeply afterwards. Every one of these episodes you come through brings you closer to their next stage of life and your next stage of parenting. Sure, you’ll have other problems then, but at least you’ll know that all the hitting was just a phase. It sure is a relief to know your child really doesn’t have a violent temper or hitting streak.
So take these basic tips and run with them, and your newfound knowledge of how to stop a toddler from hitting may turn the “terrible twos” into something at least slightly less tumultuous.