13 answers

Help! 14 Month Old Hitting Other Kids and Teachers at Daycare

My 14 month old little boy is every active and playful except we get reports that when he is at daycare he constantly hits! In fact when we drop him off in the morning he makes a bee line to the nearest kid and wacks them. He deosn't hit us at home. His teacher is every fustrated but i don't know what to do. We try time outs and they work temporarily, but he reverts back to doing it after a day or two. This is not a problem at home, not sure what to do. Help!

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Time outs are not appropriate for a child under 3 and generally are not a good idea at all as they promote detachment rather than attachment. Hitting is pretty normal for his age. he doesn't mean harm by it. The advice from most child development experts is to keep on and on telling him no and to model gentle behavior. Take him away from his hitting object and divert him to other things. It can take quite a long time for this behavior to go away. Children at that age don't have great memories and so you have to do the same thing over and over and over and over for them to eventually learn to do something other than what they were wanting to do. They have virtually no impulse control and so even if they know you don't like something, they will generally do it because they basically can't quite help themselves. Just as you are heading into daycare, you may want to talk to him about not hitting and then the teacher has to keep telling him and removing him when he does hit. Good luck.

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this is NORMAL behavior! I worked in the toddler room and day care for many many years and if this is frustrating the teacher I would seek care somewhere else. This is very normal behavior at this age as is biting. They are not hitting to hurt, they like a reaction. The teachers need to keep them busy so they are distracted. I would seriously consider finding a new situation for your child as this person is clearly not qualified to teach this age group. It is a very diffficult age to teach and the person needs to be qualified or there will be problems like the day care in vernon hills...TIME OUTS? at this age are INAPPROPRIATE and according to DCFS are NOT meant for children under 2. You need to understand something...due to the budget cuts in IL there is a 2 year backlog just to relicense day cares, let alone do their once a year "surprise" check. There is NO ONE checking on these places right now. You need to be watching and looking for signs and reporting them. I would IMMEDIATELY take my child out of that situation. A 14 month old has NO IDEA what a time out is...this is a terrible situation and I hope you can get your child into a more secure environment ASAP!

What kind of punishment have you authorized her to do? can she put him in a chair for time-out...what length of time do you allow? He obviously does not

1.) understand that he's hurting people
2.) does not care about the consequences of his actions

So maybe you need to hangout for a little while in the morning and when he goes to hit someone immediately go over and address it...make sure he understands that what he's doing is not funny and that is not how we play.

Then hang-out for a little longer and discipline him if he does it again. You may need to arrive early in the am and pm for a few days to catch him in the act and thus intervene. Then also instruct the daycare teacher that she must separate him from the other kids immediately for a long period of time while reinforcing and reiterating to him that it is not okay to hit. I'm not sure if a one year old will understand sitting in time-out or not...my girls did and the little girl I watch, but I'm not sure my son would and thus when he's done something of that nature I have to take a more aggressive approach.

When he bit someone, I bit him back to show him that it hurts and I firmly told him no biting. I didn't bite him hard...just enough to get the wide-eye response and then I said "biting hurts....you don't bite"

When he hits someone I pop his hand. I've only had to bite him once and pop his hand once. But you have to catch him in the act.

Time outs are not appropriate for a child under 3 and generally are not a good idea at all as they promote detachment rather than attachment. Hitting is pretty normal for his age. he doesn't mean harm by it. The advice from most child development experts is to keep on and on telling him no and to model gentle behavior. Take him away from his hitting object and divert him to other things. It can take quite a long time for this behavior to go away. Children at that age don't have great memories and so you have to do the same thing over and over and over and over for them to eventually learn to do something other than what they were wanting to do. They have virtually no impulse control and so even if they know you don't like something, they will generally do it because they basically can't quite help themselves. Just as you are heading into daycare, you may want to talk to him about not hitting and then the teacher has to keep telling him and removing him when he does hit. Good luck.

This is pretty typical for a child his age. It is your son's way of telling you that he is frustrated that you have to leave, because he doesn't have the words to tell you yet. Try helping him get used to the transitions by verbally telling him what will happen through out your day, his teacher can do this too. You can make picture cards to show him your morning routine to help him along as well, ie: waking up, getting dressed, your car at home, putting your son in his carseat, and your car at daycare and so on. Have his daycare teacher do the same to help smooth the transitions during his day at the daycare center (this will benefit all of the toddlers in his class as well as your son).

Also, the daycare center could have a teacher one-on-one with your son for a while to make sure that the hittng stops or is in control. They can make sure to redirect your child if/when he is in an area with a child he has hit in the past. Having worked in many daycare centers, this was the way we handled behavior that caused harm to others such as hitting, biting, etc.

I agree with the other moms but would like to add something. Sometimes kids at that age do not understand how to express their feelings. Maybe he is happy and doesn't understand how to show the other kids that he is happy to see them. If he goes straight to someone when he is dropped off and smacks him, it might just be because he is happy to see him. Everytime he hits like that for no reason he needs to be told not to hit but to hug that person. I know it sounds weird but at 15 months (especially if there are no siblings at home) they are not sure what the emotions inside them are or how to deal with them. The teacher in that classroom should know this if she has an Early Childhood Education background and has been in a toddler room for any length of time. Without seeing his face and expression when he hits it's hard to say but I would try that. If his face looks angry and he seems upset when he hits then there is probably something else going on in the classroom. If he hits but doesn't seem to be angry or upset with the person he hits he is probably happy to see him. It's just like in school when the boy pulls the little girls hair, it's not because he doesn't like her, it's because HE DOES like her. :)

Hi,

It maybe he is feelig anxious when he gets to school and that is why is hitting others as his release of anger so, rather than just leaving him there (don't interpret this wrong) have a plan of action with the teacher. Start out with asking him how he feels to let him say what he needs to say and get it off his chest, then get him engaged in an activity where you play with him, then eventually the teacher will take over. Keep it a routine. Tell that you will be back in at the end of the day to pick him, and that it will be ok. He is hitting because he is angry at you for leaving him and he is hitting others to release his anger.

He's obviously getting attention from hitting that he likes... even if it is negative attention. His teacher should simply take him by the hand and say "NO HIT" in a firm voice and then leave the situation alone. It is also very important that he is busy at day care. Are there always a variety of activities within his reach? Do the teachers transition to new activities with the children throughout the day? You can't really punish a 14 month old at home for something he is only doing at day care and expect it to work. At the time it happens, he should be quickly reprimanded and then redirected to a different activity.

I taught in toddler classrooms for years and discovered that when biting/hitting occurs it is a problem with the classroom - not the child. I would sit in on the class and make sure your child is being stimulated (not-overstimulated either!) and that negative behaviors are not getting too much attention. That is not to say the teachers are terrible or don't know what they are doing - but sometimes it is important to take a step back and look at the whole picture.

Don't think you have a "bad" child or that there is something wrong with him... look at the situation and figure out how to fix it from there. Assure the teacher that you want to work with them to resolve the matter and hopefully she will become less frustrated - because a frustrated teacher doesn't help matters any.

Good luck to you - feel free to message me if you have any more questions! I would love to help.

PS - A "problem child" in one teacher's eyes can end up being a class pet with the next. It's all a matter of perspective. If you can get your child's teacher to see the "something special" in your child - you might find they form an entirely different relationship in the future which will lead to better behavior.

This is your daycare worker's problem more than yours and she should be trying as diligently as you to put a stop to this behavior. Does he do the same thing when you take him to a park, etc? Try taking him to another place with a group of kids, such as a McDonald playground, be prepared to discipline him there when and if he starts to hit, a timeout at a fun playing experience will be twice as strong as one at home. He really is young. One thing that I do with children that young when they hit is to snap their hand with my fingers. They cannot imitate this action and it gets across the idea that they are doing something with their hands that they should not. It is not clear what the daycare worker is doing even though she is very frustrated. Actually now in daycare circles timeouts are not used as young as 14 mos, they recommend waiting until 2 yrs of age. Are there other kids hitting that he is imitating? does he feel threatened by the group and so he is asserting himself? she actually has few choices of action to take besides diverting his attention with something else to do. Here is an idea. Since you have seen him run up and hit the first kid, next time you drop him off have your arms empty and grab him around the waist as he makes his move and hold his arms close to his body. When his energy subsides, let him go and see if he makes another move and continue doing this, talking to him about not hitting. This will give the teacher an idea of how to deal with this and then you and she will be on the same page. You will have to be persistent, take it one day at a time and know that eventually he will grow out of it.

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