Toddler Aggression
What To Do If Your Child Hits

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Toddler aggression is as common as it is shocking the first time you see it.

When your child bites, hits or scratches you or another kid, it's easy to feel dismay and incomprehension. When it happens to your toddler, you likely feel angry and want something done - fast.

This page gives guidance on what you can do about your little one's behaviour towards other children. If you want some advice about your child being aggressive to you, click here

Preventing Aggressive Behavior
Toddler Aggression

If your child has started to hit or bite others, it is best to monitor the situation. Does it happen at a particular time, like at playgroup? Close supervision can nip problems in the bud. Mediating Thomas The Tank Engine disputes for example!

More often than not, aggressive behaviour comes out of the blue and there is nothing you can do to prevent it.

Responding To Aggressive Outbursts

Toddler Aggression, Monitor It. Is It A One Off, Or Can You See A Pattern Forming?

Act immediately - instead of saying 'No TV when we get home', you should immediately take something away that matters to your toddler.

Strategically ignore your toddler. What does every toddler want more than anything else in the world? Your attention. So withdraw your attention. There are 2 ways to do this:

1. Heaping lots of positive attention on the child who has been bitten, scratched etc.

2. Time out is generally the most effective tactic. But not for very long. I use to find that a couple of minutes was enough. (For my son and me ). Followed by a calm little chat of why he should not have done it. Leave "Time Out" for longer, and your toddler will have no idea why or what happened.

Do not shout or show anger. It can be very, very difficult to stay calm and not express your shock and dismay in front of your child. If you are with other parents that you don't know very well, you could be highly embarrassed to boot.

Shouting at your child is a form of attention. To a toddler, even negative attention is better than being ignored. So he may do it again, just for that reason.

Avoid spanking or smacking your toddler at all costs. If you remember nothing else, take this on board: punishing your child for violent behaviour in this way will seriously confuse him or her. It will also teach her to do it again - remember that children learn by copying what we do, not what we say.

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