11 answers

Help My 1 Year Old Is Head Butting Everybody!

My 1 year old just started head butting everybody that holds him. He dosen't seem to be mad when this happens. We thought it might be to do with eskimo kisses. How do I stop him he is really hurting the kids.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Find him something new to do when giving a hug that is funny, he sounds like he thinks he is "funny" and found that the reaction he gets is louder than words. It takes at least 21 times to change a bad habit. It takes time, and it also works wonders.
Have fun!

More Answers

My son did something similiar to this. My husbands father would do a little bonk on the head with him adn then he started doing it -only hard. We asked my father in law to stop doing that with him and eventually my son forgot about it. He was about 15 months at the time. Cut out anything that resembles a headbutt (like the eskimo kisses) and he will probably stop doing it.
Good luck

My son does the same thing! Sometimes I think it's frustration and sometimes it's misplaced affection. And it hurts!! He knocks down other kids when he does this--- I'm avidly reading your responses so I can use them too!!! I have been using time outs and telling him 'gentle' with little affect... glad I'm not the only one!

Good luck!

Find him something new to do when giving a hug that is funny, he sounds like he thinks he is "funny" and found that the reaction he gets is louder than words. It takes at least 21 times to change a bad habit. It takes time, and it also works wonders.
Have fun!

My 2 year old son did this for a while. Everyone kept laughing at him, but we were not laughing. We were afraid he would hurt himself, but he never did. We just kept saying don't do that you will hurt your head or hurt someone else. He has a really hard head. He no longer does it so it may just be a phase they go through.

It might sound mean, but with mine in every case that they were doing something like that...biting, scratching, hitting, throwing toys....I did the same to them. Not as hard or in a way that would injure them, but just enough to make the eyes wide. Then I explain that it hurts and we don't do that. It has worked for me, both my kids, both kids I watch, and all the kids I've ever babysat over the past 30 years.

My 1 yr old daughter is doing the same thing, but she head butts everyone's legs or the couch cushions. We started to do time outs, so we will see.

My daughter had gone through a phase like that. We weren't sure where she got it from, but she also decided that she wanted to hit others on the head. We let her know how serious it was to hurt others by giving her a time-out immediately when she would do it. After her 1 minute time out (she was just over 1, so 1 minute is long enough) we would remind her what she did hurt others and we would then show her how to give affection to others in appropriate ways. It got less and less frequent and eventually stopped. It's amazing how much a one year old understands. Even if they don't really get it at the time, consistancy will help them get there eventually. It is most important when disciplining to take IMMEDIATE action. It's lots of work on the front end, but later it pays off in many areas of their lives...and yours. I feel your pain.

Hi N.,

I started laughing when I read your question - it must be something in the water, because my son does that to this day occasionally, and he's three. It's kind of goofy, but if people are getting hurt, you definitely need to do something. I think, maybe there's a tendency NOT to discipline for this behavior, because he's not doing it to be hurtful or menacing. He's just being goofy and having fun. He just needs to know that it's not good behavior, and there will be consequences because people are getting hurt. Try a one-minute time-out in an isolated place, and verbally communicate why he has to spend time by himself. You don't realize how much they understand at that age - my 14 month old daughter amazes me at her verbal comprehension, so you have to remember that when you discipline. They're not as innocent as we want to believe! Just communicate it calmly and gently, and remove him from the situation when he starts head butting. He'll get the picture, and although it may not go away completely, he'll learn that he can't do it when it hurts people. Hope this helps! Good luck!


I watch a wonderful little boy who just turned 15 months. He went through a head butting stage, too. When he would do it to me, I would pull him back and tell him in a stern voice, "NO!". It seemed to work. His parents did the same thing. He grew out of the phase pretty quickly when we started telling him no.

Good luck,
B. :-)

Gently hold his face and tell him "easy" honey, don't hurt Mommy (and make a sad face--then a happy face when he does it right). Give him an extra little hug too.

Both of mine did this- not sure on the ages but I know they were still babies. I do not remember what happened with my son as it was 18 years ago but with my daughter- she is only 19 months old now- she loved the reaction she would get out of me. I would yell because it hurt, especially when she got me in the nose. I tried the "get in her face" as the DR told me to do but that did absolutely nothing, I tried putting her in her crib so she couldnt get away- her time out and gets me away from her when I am angry! lol Nothing... finally I realized it is the reaction she was getting and looking forward too... she was so used to hearing me sing song talk to her and always have the sweet Mommy voice that this was something new.... I finally stopped reacting- very hard to do if your lip is bleeding or it feels like your nose was just smashed into your brain... and after only a few more head bumps she stopped- got boring I am assuming :) All about cause and effect at this age.

Right now she just realized she can pinch/grab my face and make me cry as well as bruise.... well with the skin on your face being so sensitive, I am finding it very hard to not react this time around...I almost dropped her one day last week when she did this and all she would do was laugh. Tried telling her gentle, like I do with the dogs but that wasnt fun for her and she kept on....I finally just resorted to giving her a smaller dose of her own medicine- Ohhhhhhhhhh she did not like that
but has not done it once since.... I do not suggest doing it for the head butting though! lol Be prepared for this one to happen soon too! Then the biting.... amazing how kids learn!
Good luck with your little head butter!

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