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Top 5 Questions About Toddlers

How do I stop my toddler from hitting?

a young boy glaring angrily

Just redirect!!!!! Don't make a big deal about it because then they want to do it more. - Megan W.

Give 'em a Taste

I don't believe in spanking, but have you tried explaining and showing your toddler that hitting hurts? When he hits, take his hand and show him that hitting hurts. This method worked for me. - Nydea M.

Just Say No!

I tell my 26-month-old nephew "No, we do not hit," and redirect him. If he does it again, he gets time out. Period. - Eileen M.

Withhold Your Attention

Move your toddler away from you every time he hits or bites. For instance, if you are holding him and he hits or bites, say "No" and set him on the floor. He will soon realize that if he wants Mommy or Daddy time he will have to be nice. Another thing to try is saying, "No, that hurts" or "I don't like that," which will help him to realize that what he is doing is not nice. - April

The Expert Opinion

When things get physical, Dr. Karp recommends a sharp warning, like a loud clap and scowl, or even a growl, to stop your toddler from hitting. Calmly saying (or yelling ) 'no' isn't really effective: "A toddler essentially goes deaf with anger," Dr. Karp adds, and showing him that hitting hurts isn't a great option either. "Inflicting pain is too often a road to increased conflict. Parents need to teach little kids that words go with feelings," he says. "We don't teach not to spit by spitting, or not to hit by hitting. A stern, but respectful comment gets the point across."

If your child continues to hit, he may need a time-out (sticking to the one minute per year rule). However once he stops, use the toddler-ese method to acknowledge the emotion. Once the child starts to calm you can talk through whatever interaction led to the hitting. Finally, after the toddler has calmed down, you can distract him.

Next: Get Your Toddler To Brush Their Teeth


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