Toddlers have the ability to melt our hearts with their vulnerability, innocence, and abounding cuteness. And that can make it all the more confusing when they suddenly start to hit, shove, or bite.
Aggressive behavior in toddlers is completely normal, as every parent knows, but that doesn’t mean that it should be permitted, or that you can’t take steps to prevent it.
In today’s video, I’ll look at some of the likely causes of aggressive behavior in your toddler, and give you some tips to help spot their triggers and address them before things get out of hand.
One of the most frustrating and slash embarrassing things about being a parent of a toddler is when they start to hit or bite or slap or push other people, other children, their siblings. That can be a really tough transition time for a lot of parents, so I want to give you a few tips here today if you are experiencing that, how to navigate it a little smoother.
First of all, it’s pretty normal, right? It’s a reaction to frustration, and I don’t want you to feel like there’s anything wrong with your child because there isn’t.
The first thing you wanna look at though, is what provokes it, you really want, even if just for a week, observe your child and really pinpoint what provokes aggression. It’s usually things like anger, frustration, fatigue, hunger. All of these things can make a child react very on impulse with no control.
So do you notice that she’s always hitting her baby brother right before lunch time then that’s probably a hunger issue and you need to give her a bigger snack or move up your lunchtime. Does she do it right before bedtime, then it’s fatigue, right, she’s not getting enough rest so let’s move bedtime up or have a look at the schedule.
Those are often overlooked and they’re super, super important, especially fatigue. Fatigue in all of us minimizes our responses, it makes us more irritable and impulsive, and quick to anger or rage, so that is huge.
If your child is not getting enough sleep during the day and night, that is most likely the number one reason why they are acting out aggressively.
Frustration is another one, so she has the toy that I want or you’re making me stop playing to go have a bath, so it’s I’m not getting what I want essentially is what’s happening there, and the impulse is to grab, hit, push, to get what I want.
You need to teach them though, that that’s not an okay way to get what you want. And in my home we had two reasons why our children went for an automatic timeout without a warning. One was hitting, biting, pushing, anything aggressive or violent, automatic timeout. So you are going straight for a timeout now, that is not okay, it is never acceptable. We do not respond to our anger or frustration in that way.
I suggest you do the same. It should be, I mean, c’mon, it should be a non-negotiable, right? Again, this is a learning process, so this is gonna take time and patience on your end and lots of trips to the naughty step or the timeout room or whatever you use for your timeouts.
But there has to be some sort of consequence for acting out like that. Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to prevent it from happening in the first place.
If you notice or see he’s starting to get frustrated or he’s getting angry at that other child, intervene, try to distract them, offer another toy, move them to another area. You definitely wanna try to prevent it from happening, but if it does happen, you know, you missed it, you turned your back for a minute and it happened, it’s an automatic timeout.
In case you’re curious, the other reason why our children got an automatic timeout is if they ever told anyone that they hated them. That was a non-negotiable, you may not say that to people you love or know or anyone, that’s not okay, timeout. If you like that one, you may use it. There’s a little gift to you.
But that’s gonna send a message to the child that that’s not okay, right? I need to figure out a different way.
Now modeling is super important as well. So how do you navigate a situation in which you are feeling angry or frustrated with someone. So you might role play even or get involved in the little about to be conflict and say, “oh, you want that toy, yes I understand you want that toy. “She’s playing with that toy so we’ll find a different toy “or we’ll ask her for the toy, “or we’ll see if she’ll trade us for that toy.”
So you have to show them what else can I do, right? And if I can’t hit, what then, what can I do? It’s our job, it’s our responsibility to constantly be showing our child the way. How do I navigate this?
The good news is, that as long as you put these steps in place, it will pass, it will. You just gotta do a little bit of the work to get there.
Thanks for watching today, sleep well.
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