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Old 01-10-2012, 07:16 PM   #1
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What do you do when your toddler hits?

My older son is 2 1/2. He's been hitting people lately, and I'm not sure time outs are working for him. I usually give him a time out, then when it's done I talk to him about hitting and how it is not nice and hurts people, then ask him to apologize to whoever he hit (usually me). We've cut out the two TV shows we let him watch that had cartoon violence and this has helped, but it's still a problem. I'm assuming this is kinda normal and he will eventually learn, but I'd prefer sooner rather than later.

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Old 01-10-2012, 07:33 PM   #2
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Re: What do you do when your toddler hits?

It is a normal phase. Hitting people when upset demonstrates he understands that other people are the 'cause' of his feelings. Doesn't make it any easier. How do you do timeouts? For children under the age of 3, they don't have a concept of the passage of time, which is why timeouts sometimes work great (2 minutes was nothing) and sometimes are a constant battle (2 minutes is FOREVER!). I'm a great supporter of time outs but some recent reading has led me to understand how my two year old deals with them. So I have modified my approach. I want her to understand we don't hit because it hurts others, not because we get punished for it. So here is what I do.

1) Remove her from the situation. Tell her "We use gentle hands. Hitting hurts. You hurt X by hitting them." I also use an exaggerated sad face.

2) Usually she is upset when she hits, I put her in time out for no more than two minutes, sometimes less if she seems calm prior.

3) Tell her when she gets out that she hurt her friend/mommy/etc by hitting, and we use gentle hands when we play. When we are mad we use are words. I know it was upsetting that X happened, but we still need to be gentle.

4) She's a touchy feely kid, and loves to have her 'boo-boos' kissed, so she kisses the boo-boo she inflicted and says sorry.

There are days where she hits a lot, usually she's tired or overstimulated. Most days she's pretty good. This seems to work well for us, and impart the message I want to send. If we're in a public place and she is having trouble controlling herself we leave.
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:22 PM   #3
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Yes I do very similar. "You hit, you sit." Then talk about it
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:16 PM   #4
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Re: What do you do when your toddler hits?

At least I'm not the only one (not that I thought I was, lol). I'll just keep doing what I've been doing, he does seem sorry sometimes so it must be sorta working.
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:31 PM   #5
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Re: What do you do when your toddler hits?

I think it's also easy to forget two things:

1) He's 2, it's normal to have to tell him a thousand times, and then one more.

2) Even if he KNOWS he shouldn't, 2 year olds have very limited self control skills.

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Old 01-11-2012, 04:57 PM   #6
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Re: What do you do when your toddler hits?

We are having the same issues here with DFS who is 2.75. I just keep telling myself that DD had outgrown it by about 3.5, and that it will pass. But it is super annoying, and makes me look like the worst parent in the world!
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