How To Stop Toddler From Hitting

How To Stop Toddler From Hitting

Mai Delacruz

Mai Delacruz
Personal Fitness Trainer & Health Coach

Updated on 12/7/2022

how to stop toddler from hitting? Everyone has been in this situation at some point: You and the other parents are having a great time at a playdate when suddenly, one of the children hits the other, resulting in an outburst of shrieks, sobs, and whines. We've all been in that situation.

Because children of all ages, but particularly toddlers, tend to hit one another when playing, this may be a challenging period for parents, particularly parents of toddlers, who are trying to keep their children from hurting each other. The time kids spend playing may be quite trying for their parents. It may be difficult for parents to know which strategy will be the most effective in dealing with this behavior because there are several possible options.

As the parent of a kid who slaps other children on the playground or at daycare, you may be in an embarrassing situation. Because of this, you may be curious about the sorts of strategies for behavior modification that are most beneficial in addressing this issue.

Stop Toddler

On the other side, your child may suddenly start hitting you or a sibling, and you may be forced to suffer in silence while wondering what you may have done wrong to cause your child to behave in such a manner. You could be asking yourself what you might have done wrong to have caused such behavior in your child in the first place.

Rest assured that you are not the only parent concerned about their child's striking behavior, and whether or not your child hits you or others, there are clear actions you can take to remedy the problem. Whether or not your child hits you, there are clear actions you can take to fix the problem. Regardless of whether or not your child strikes you, there are some steps that you may take to solve the situation on your own.

Why Do Toddlers Hit? 

They Are Testing Limits

They are gambling to figure out the results to prepare themselves accordingly.

It serves a purpose similar to that of other everyday activities toddlers engage in, such as throwing applesauce at your work shirt or yelling in a high-pitched voice while stuck in rush-hour traffic. Hitting provides a purpose similar to that served by other actions that are done daily by toddlers. The purpose of this exercise is to put into question established ideas of what constitutes appropriate behavior.

Stop Toddler

What many consequences may result from my decision to behave in this manner? The realization that their brother cries when he is struck with a stick is part of the education process for children, just as is the realization that pounding a drum is not the same as beating their mother. Both of these realizations are a part of the education process for children.

They Haven't Developed Self-Control

They have not yet reached the stage of development where they can exert self-control, and as a result, they cannot do so. That is because it has not yet reached the scene.

When interacting with a child, it is critical to remember that youngsters have an almost nonexistent capacity to regulate their impulses. That is something that you must keep in mind at all times. It would be best if you always remembered this, so don't forget it. As a means of expressing their emotions, whether anger, excitement, or boredom, they do not consider it an issue if they hit when feeling these things. So, when angry, they don't think twice before striking.

According to the findings of this particular line of study, the optimal time for youngsters to begin displaying signs of favorable growth in this area is between the ages of three and nine. There is no possible way to emphasize the importance of this (with more significant development in girls than boys in this area). The bad news is that when you are going through anything complicated right now, between the ages of 3 and 9, an extensive range of potential outcomes is available to you.

They Don't Understand It Is Bad

Stop Toddler

They are entirely oblivious that what they are doing is detrimental, as they are unaware that it is terrible in the first place.

It is also true that toddlers sometimes use force without being provoked by others. That lends credence to the theory that they are curious about the outcome of their actions and do not yet possess the moral compass or the knowledge that they can hurt other people but should not do so. This theory is supported by the fact that toddlers sometimes use force without being provoked by others.

Researchers have conducted research on this phenomenon by observing youngsters ranging in age from 11 months to 24 months as well as by participating in participant observation. They concluded that, in the vast majority of instances, the children who were striking others were not going through any emotional distress at the time that they were engaged in such behavior. That was the finding that led them to the conclusion.

They Don't Understand It Is Bad

They are utterly clueless about coping with the emotions they are experiencing because they have never been in this situation before.

Toddlers commonly act out violently, both at themselves and other people, to cope with the "huge" sensations they experience. You can direct this behavior against the toddler or at another person, which is one of the reasons why youngsters at such a young age often turn to hit each other.

Stop Toddler

They cannot take a moment to pause, evaluate how they are feeling, and then respond in a manner that is socially acceptable, appropriate, or helpful. That is powerless to come to a halt. On the other hand, adults may be able to calmly convey their dissatisfaction to their spouse or a close friend on whom they can rely. In contrast, a youngster, who might not be able to do so, is unable to do so here. On the other hand, toddlers often lack the verbal ability and the self-control required to behave in a manner that is socially acceptable, desirable, or helpful. That is because toddlers are still developing their language skills.

A toddler may want something, feel upset, or believe their friend has somehow mistreated them due to anything their friend did. All of these outcomes can be attributed to the actions of the toddler's friend. There is a high probability that the behavior of the toddler's playmate is the root cause of all these emotions. Let's be honest: if someone pulled down the large block construction that you'd been working on for the past half an hour, you could feel the urge to attack that person. If you've been working on it for that long, you would likely feel the desire to attack that person. After all, you had invested significant time and work into constructing it.

What Should You Do When Your Toddler Hits? 

Stop Toddler

There are actionable methods you can take to avoid, manage, and divert toddlers who are striking, much to the relief of parents. Hitting is not simply a "time you have to suffer with."

Even whileThere is a chance that one or more of the following choices won't work for you work for a particular child. It is ultimately up to you, the parent, to determine which alternative is most appropriate for your situation and choose the one that will serve your family most beneficially. In addition, do not be afraid to investigate several other possibilities by employing the method of trial and error to find the one that will be of the most significant assistance to your child. That is the most critical piece of advice.

Restrain Them Physically

You must maintain some physical control over them at all times.

Suppose your child is acting violently against other people. In that case, your first instinct may be to physically control your child by using your body as a barrier between them and other people. That may be because you feel accountable for the way they act. If you have the impression that you have no control over your child's behavior or if your child responds more favorably to being physically restrained to calm down, You should consider this possibility before moving forward.

That might be physically challenging for you to perform based on your height, strength, and skills, but it also relies on your toddler's power. If your child is strong, this could be physically challenging for you to complete. On the other hand, the degree to which your youngster can do this work depends directly on their physical talents. The act of physically restraining your child should not be uncomfortable for them; instead, it should feel more like a kind yet fierce embrace that keeps them from harming themselves or other people.

Stop Toddler

You may also try talking to them in a soothing tone and letting them know that you are holding them because you can't let them damage anybody else. You must explain why you have it in this scenario. Tell someone that you are holding somebody because you cannot allow it to injure anybody else and that the only person they will not be able to harm is themselves. You really ought to make it a priority to do this exercise in its entirety from beginning to end. After the initial event sets in motion, the subsequent sequence of occurrences has occurred, and you are free to steer the following events toward various behaviors.

Suppose your child has an adverse reaction while being restrained. In this scenario, it would probably be more fruitful to investigate one of the options indicated below as an alternative to using constraints. You may find these alternatives below. These alternatives are discussed more below, and the options are detailed in the paragraph after this one.

Remove Your Child From The Situation

Take your youngster out of the possibly dangerous situation as quickly as possible.

Every one of us has been presented with the threat that "If you don't stop, I'm going to take you to the vehicle (or your room")," which is a line that our very own parents may have spoken. This threat has been conveyed to us at some point in our lives. Is there any evidence to support the claim that it is effective? The answer is said to be affirmative in several different reports.

Stop Toddler

When dealing with a child striking other people in the surroundings, one of the most effective ways to manage is to remove the child from the stressful setting in a composed and relaxed manner. That is one of the most successful tactics. Be ready for the possibility that you will need to demonstrate the rule more than once before a child realizes that hitting will result in a specific punishment, including a period during which they will not be able to play with other children. During this time, the child will not be allowed to interact with other children. You need to ensure that you have adequate preparation for this.

They will need to be relocated to a new area, the precise location of which will be determined by where you are now standing. Whether in a public place or at another person's house, it is feasible that the automobile will protect you adequately in either setting. To assist the individual in refocusing their attention, select a peaceful, quiet area in a separate location from any other activities if you are in the individual's own home. If you are not in your own house, go outside to a place where you may relax.

It is typically a good idea to talk about the troublesome issue, review it, and attempt to calm down over it when some distance has been put between you and the circumstance causing you difficulty. The amount of time you spend on each will vary depending on several factors, such as your child's age, the level of comprehension they have achieved, and your level of patience at this specific moment in history.

It is not bad if you decide that you have had enough for the day and that you must put what you are doing on hold for a little while to give it another shot later. It is also an appropriate choice to choose that you require a break from the activity that you are now engaging in.

Discuss Alternatives

Stop Toddler

Suppose you have not explicitly instructed and modeled these responses for your child. In that case, It is conceivable that the idea that there are other methods to deal with emotions such as irritation, jealousy, and anger has not even occurred to your kid. If this is the case, you must continue to model healthy coping mechanisms for your child. That is especially true if you have not discussed the importance of these responses with your child. It is essential to keep this in mind if you have not gone over these replies with your child.

What other possible reactions could children have besides beating a buddy who steals a toy they desired, namely one that a friend of theirs has taken? Take care to set an example for others to follow by behaving proportionally, such as speaking up when something is wrong, removing yourself from the setting, or informing an adult about the problem. Others will be more likely to follow your lead if you set an example for them to follow.

Your toddler needs you to teach them their alternatives, but it takes time to learn and reach a developmental stage where this will be beneficial. Your toddler's options are limited while they are still under your care. Your young child is now at the stage where they require you to instruct them on their many options. Your child will have access to a wider variety of options the more they learn from you.


Stop Toddler

It is possible to assist toddlers, particularly the younger ones, in forgetting the impulse they had to strike something by redirecting them to do something else that is more suitable. That is especially helpful for younger toddlers. That is something that must be kept in mind while dealing with toddlers who are in the process of mastering the art of walking. For instance, if the child is between the ages of one and two, you could teach them how to be kind by holding their hand while they hit and demonstrating how to touch. That would be appropriate in a situation where the child is between the ages of one and two. That would be appropriate for children one and a half years old or older.

Suppose they continue to engage in the behavior you do not want them to. In that case, You may try to do the activity you do not wish to engage in by focusing attention on something other than what you are doing in the hope that this would persuade them to stop doing what it is that they are doing. It is of the utmost importance to make sure that the act of striking does not attract a higher amount of attention than the act of avoiding being hit by another person. That is because avoiding being hit is the more meaningful action.

Suppose your reaction to being hit by another player is to immediately become more enthusiastic about the game. In that case, the overall number of hits may increase unintentionally, even if you do not intend this to happen. Be conscious of the need to provide them with positive reinforcement when they are not hitting each other by ensuring that they are aware of your appreciation when they are not hitting each other. That will serve as a valuable reinforcement for the times when they are not punching or kicking each other.

Provide Emotional Support

Stop Toddler

You could try teaching the child other ways emotions can be expressed, such as what different feeling words imply, in a manner appropriate for the child's age. If it seems like improper management of emotions is the root cause of the child's striking behavior, you could try teaching the child other ways in which you can express emotions. That would be beneficial if the child's unusual behavior could be traced back to incorrect control of their feelings as the underlying reason.

A child of two years old as well as a child of five years old may be able to develop the language abilities necessary to communicate sensations associated with being disturbed, irritated, nervous and other states that are comparable to these experiences. On the other hand, how you explain frustration to a child who is two years old is not going to be the same as how you explain it to a child who is five years old.

Some individuals only need someone to give them a hug and some emotional support to deal with the enormous feelings they are going through, and that is all they require to get through it.

Prevent Hitting Before It Begins

Stopping an attacker where they stand is the best way to prevent them from ever starting a strike on you.

Stop Toddler

Pay special attention to the behaviors your child frequently demonstrates in the minutes and seconds preceding a dispute with another person. That will help you better prepare your child for the confrontation. What common triggers get them angry and drive them to beat themselves or other people, and how can you tell when they are about to act violently toward other people or themselves?

There is a possibility that some of the youngsters may start making sounds of discontent, such as something that sounds nearly exactly like a dog snarling, while others will begin to complain about the circumstance. If you see your toddler rushing toward another kid and approaching them, this might be a warning that hitting will be a problem in the future. If you notice your toddler racing toward another child and closing them, this could signify that striking will be a problem in the future. You need to maintain vigilance about this particular matter.

If you can recognize these behaviors and triggers, you will have a higher chance of being able to prevent them from occurring before they do so. That will give you more control over your life, and that is because you will be able to predict your actions. You will be successful in achieving this objective if you provide the individual with potential alternate courses of action or if you physically prevent them from engaging in the behavior that is in question.

What Should You NOT Do When Your Toddler Hits?

Stop Toddler

Hit Or Spank

Even though the matter is still passionately debated in parenting circles worldwide, there is increasing evidence to show that physical punishment, such as spanking, could inflict more harm than benefit. Examples of this type of punishment include caning and shaking.

For instance, a study conducted in 2017 identified a connection between the application of physical punishment and various problems related to behavior. You showed this association to exist. According to the study's findings, children who had never gotten a spanking from their parents by age five significantly increased behavior difficulties by age 6. That was in comparison to children who had never received a spanking. Issues such as arguing, fighting, exhibiting anger, behaving impulsively, and disrupting activities already in progress were some of the problems that arose due to these occurrences.

In addition, if you are trying to provide a positive role model for your child, dissuade them from hitting other people. It may be difficult for them to comprehend what you are trying to teach them if they see you engaging in the same behavior. That is especially true if you are trying to dissuade them from hitting other people to prevent them from hitting others. They can have a more challenging time understanding what you are attempting to teach them if they witness you indulging in the same behavior you want them to avoid. It is in everyone's best interest to steer clear of power battles that require the use of physical force, as this can only lead to adverse outcomes.

Stop Toddler

It is one thing to walk or carry your child to the location where they will complete their time-out, but it is an entirely different thing to punish them while they are ending their relaxation physically. Walking or carrying your child to the location where they will serve their time-out is acceptable behavior. It's one thing to get your child to their time-out spot on foot or by carrying them in your arms. 

Still, there's another option: If your child is attempting to get out of the time-out position you have set up for them, you should refrain from being harsh with them and provide them with positive reinforcement instead. Instead, place them back in the location where they are supposed to spend their time out calmly while you explain what has to occur when they are allowed to get up and any other pertinent details. Avoid being harsh with your child if they are attempting to get out of the time-out position that you have made for them if they are doing so.

Yell Or React With Anger

Raise your voice or put on an intimidating display if you want me to pay attention to what you're saying.

Instead of shrieking, yelling, and acting out in rage, responses from toddlers built of serenity and firmness tend to have a higher success rate.

When you take a moment to rein in your feelings before guiding your kid, you will help them see you as an authoritative person who is in charge of their body, voice, words, and facial expressions. That will help them regard you as the one who should give them directions. That is the case even when the circumstance has the potential to be quite annoying. Because of this, they will have a better chance of effectively absorbing what you have to teach them.

Base Your Reaction On Other Parents

Stop Toddler

Before making a decision, it is essential to consider the actions and reactions of other parents.

Parent-to-parent groups have the well-deserved reputation of being fertile breeding grounds for a never-ending cycle of mommy guilt, shaming, and peer pressure in matters about the behavior of the parent's children. This reputation stems from the fact that parent-to-parent groups have the potential to bring together a large number of parents in a single setting. You shouldn't allow these sentiments to drive the judgments you make about how to assist your child cope with the unusual behaviors they display; instead, you should completely dismiss them as a source of information in making those decisions.

If you notice that your reaction is changing due to your environment or the people you keep company with, take a step back and reevaluate your parenting principles by conversing with your spouse or engaging in self-reflection. If you notice that your reaction changes due to your environment or the people you keep company with, take a step back and reevaluate your parenting principles. When you become aware that your reaction is shifting due to the environment you are in or the people you maintain a company with, it is essential to take a step back and examine the guiding principles of your parenting style.

Tips For Dealing With Toddler Hitting

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Avoid Contributing Factors

Avoid anything that might have been a factor in causing the issue in the first place.

When it comes to a vast number of the behaviors that toddlers exhibit, the real issue may not be the action itself but rather how the kid interprets things other than via the behavior. That is because toddlers are still developing their ability to understand cause-and-effect relationships.

It's not inconceivable that they're trying to improve their smile. How much sleep have you had, if any, and when would you be allowed to take a nap? Have they maintained a healthy diet throughout the day by eating nutritious meals and snacks at the proper intervals, or is it possible that they are hungry when fighting with one another? Is there anything other than striking that might be causing them displeasure and could be the reason for their sudden outburst of hostility?

You may identify a solution to the problem by reading through the list of other possible explanations, especially if there is a straightforward response such as these.

Give Opportunities For Physical Activity

Facilitate people's participation in activities that demand their physical strength and stamina and make it feasible for them to do so.

Stop Toddler

If you have looked at your fidgety children and thought, "They just need to get out and run around," then you are already aware of the truth behind the correlation between physical activity and behavior. This truth lies behind the fact that there is a positive correlation between the two.

People of all ages who get the amount of exercise recommended for them experience improvements in their mental and physical health and an increase in their capacity to maintain improved behavioral control. That is because exercise boosts endorphins, neurotransmitters that help regulate mood and behavior. It would be best if you encouraged your kid to participate in physically taxing activities. Playing the drums, jumping rope, running about, stamping their feet, running around, playing on playground equipment, and any other endeavor that will urge them to move around.

Get All Caregivers On The Same Page

Ensure that all the individuals providing the care know what must be completed.

Stop Toddler

Imagine for a moment that you, your parents, and your babysitter each responded to the disruptive behavior differently. What would happen then? When you are utilizing time-outs, your grandmother is probably laughing it off, telling you "no, no," and carrying on with her day like nothing is wrong. The babysitter may communicate with the child differently than how you would share with the child if you were addressing the child's emotions.

By talking with everyone responsible for the care of your child, you can guarantee that everyone is attacking the problem using the same tactics by ensuring everyone is on the same page. In other words, you can ensure everyone is on the same page. That will make it easier for you to show a unified front and make it possible to find a solution to the problem more practically.


When your kid strikes herself or others, it is normal and understandable to feel out of control and upset; this is a usual reaction to the circumstance. It is also appropriate to feel this way, and these feelings should not be cause for alarm.

Stop Toddler

At other times, however, children are either annoyed, exhausted, or afraid to share their things, such as their toys. Sometimes, children are simply testing the waters to see how others will react to their antics; other times, they are testing the waters to see how others will respond to their tricks. In any situation, their behaviors are likely to irritate or fatigue the people around them. Maintain your composure when addressing your child's behavior, and collaborate with the other adults responsible for their care to devise a plan to address the issue.

How to stop toddler from hitting? You are free to relax now that you know this will pass with the passage of time and the path you have intentionally chosen for it. That should put your mind at peace.

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