It can be hard to know what to do when your toddler starts to bite and hit. Unfortunately, this aggressive behavior is a phase that many toddlers go through. Some toddlers grow out of this stage quicker than others, and there are things you can do as a parent to help your toddler stop this behavior. Here are some tips you can use to tackle aggressive behavior in your toddler.
Check Their Needs
Why is your toddler biting and hitting? Before tackling your toddler’s aggressive behavior, you need to know the reason behind it. This will help you come up with a plan of action that will nip this behavior in the bud. First, check your child’s needs. Is your toddler in need of a nap or snack? Being tired and hungry can definitely cause your normally sweet toddler to act aggressively. If this isn’t the cause, it could be your toddler is simply going through a phase or has learned the behaviour from somewhere.
When your toddler hits and bites, don’t be afraid to use a firm voice. You won’t want to scream at your toddler, but you can tell your child, “No!” in a stern voice. You can also tell your toddler that biting hurts, or that hitting isn’t nice. By vocalizing your expectations, you’re giving your child immediate feedback on the aggressive behavior.
Use Time Outs
You can also use timeouts to help manage aggressive behaviour in your toddler. A timeout is the perfect consequence for many reasons. First, it is a non-aggressive response on your part. Yelling and spanking are both aggressive behaviours that should be avoided because it sends mixed signals to your toddler. A timeout also gives your toddler a chance to sit and cool off, hopefully giving them time to work their way through the negative feelings.
If your toddler is demonstrating aggressive behaviour, try to redirect them. When your toddler bites you, ask if they are hungry and give them something safe to munch on. When your child hits, ask if they want to read a story together. By redirecting your toddler’s behaviour at the first sign of aggression, you can help to avoid a fit that includes a lot of aggression.
Model the Right Behaviour
To help avoid aggressive behaviour in your toddler, start modeling the desired behaviour early. Show your child that hitting isn’t the right response to being frustrated, and then show them different ways they can express their emotions. This can include talking about it or even drawing a picture of how they’re feeling. The more you show your toddler the correct way to respond to situations, the less aggressive behaviour you’ll see.
Hitting and biting is definitely a common phase that many toddlers go through. It’s important to tackle this behaviour right away to help teach your child the right way to act. What are your tips for dealing with toddlers that bite and hit?
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!