Toddler Keeps Hitting Others

Updated on January 25, 2010
A.D. asks from Baldwin, NY
6 answers


My three year old has started hitting at the daycare and his older brother at home. He's not been good at 'sharing' and the hitting is often because he wants something that the other child has. We've talked about it, read books (Hands are not for hitting; My body; etc.) and recently started time outs . . . which leads to a full blown tantrum.

Any ideas of how to handle better. His primary teacher at daycare hasn't offered much.

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answers from Albany on

HI A.,

I absolutely agree with Diane S. Being consistant while disciplining is so important.

I just want to add that when you do explain that the offensive behavior is unacceptable do so in simple plain language such as "No hitting! That is not nice!" You can engage in a more in depth conversation at a later time about feelings & solutions to how he should proceed next time.

Also please understand that this behavior in toddlers is not unusual and does not mean your child is mean or a bully. They just do not have the skills to communicate their needs and using their hands is easier. And sharing is something that really isn't prefected until they are closer to 4 years old.

So when I said to discuss feelings & a solution, you need to teach him how he feels about whatever led to the incident. For example; "I know you are sad when so&so has the truck but you need to wait your turn." Also teach him to identify other's feelings as well; "You made so&so very sad when you hit him." Teach him what to do instead of hitting. "When so&so has the truck ask mommy (or teacher) for help."

Helping preschoolers to understand their feelings and the feelings of others is paramount to raising a well-mannered child. When his lanuguage skills grow, 3.5 - 4 years, you can help him learn effective communication. "It makes me sad when you ________ please stop." This process among other steps is called conflict resolution. You can google it to learn more. HTH!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Tantrums or not he needs to be put into time-out for his behavior. If the teacher is not offering much advice on working with him on this matter then go to the director. Although this behavior is common in daycare it does not mean it is not correctable. Each time he hits or takes away toys you should get on your knees eye level let him know that his behavior is unacceptable and then put him into time out for three minutes. If he refuses to stay just keep putting him back WITH NO CONVERSATION. It may take a few times but let him stay for 3 minutes. When time-out is over, explain what he did wrong, have him apologize, give a hug and move on. Eventually you will just have to tell him he will have to go in time out if his behavior continues and if you are consistent he should stop the behavior. In any form of discipline consistency and consequence is key. If he throws the tantrum just let him. Do not engage him in any conversation just continue with what you are trying to accomplish. I have dealt with hitting, biting, tantrums, and trust me letting it go will only make it worse. It needs to be addressed very firmly and consistently. I would make sure the teacher has control and enough help in the classroom. I have seen teacher's overwhelmed especially at this age and just unable to handle discipline issues alone. Let the teacher know you are willing to work with her so you both can come up with a consistent plan to help your son. Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albany on

hi girls do the same thing.i do put them in time out.if they scream they sit not give in .he tanturms let him he'll get tired and he will stop.tell him hitting is not nice it hurts. tell him it makes you sad and makes you want to cry. he will stop sometime. tell him it hurts your feelings change his mind with something else. H.



answers from New York on

There is a childrens book you can called No Hitting by Karen Katz. It helped my son alot. She has several along those lines actually. And whenever my son would start hitting we'd pull out the book for a reminder. Look it up on Amazon.



answers from New York on

Hi A....keep up with those time outs!! You need to be consistent and show him that you're the it EVERYTIME he hits OR screams at another child for a toy. That behavior has to stop and it will with consistency.

Hope you have some progress!! It's a great encourager!!! :)



answers from Dallas on

We had a situation, regarding hitting, and my then 2 year old daughter refused to listen to us and would have terrible tantrums.
Our problem was resolved, thankfully! My best friend, who's hubby is a Doctor, recommended this program... This program was a small miracle for us and now I finally understand why my best friend, who is also a parent of two twin toddlers girls and a one year old boy, is always so laid back and in control, while I was ready to pull my hair out, lol! You should definitely check it out. A must have for parents. Good luck with everything :)

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