Hitting Toddlers - Parenting Advice | Teaching Self-Government

Hitting Toddlers - Parenting Advice


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This is a copy of an email from Amiee Kieffer, author of http://momzoo.blogspot.com/

I thought it would be helpful to many others.


"Your parenting methods have really changed things around here.  I could go on and on about it!

I am still at a loss on how to do this all with my 2 year old.  He does well with pre-teaching most of the time, and sometimes I can get his attention long enough to talk to him (he has such a funny “serious” face that I have a hard time not laughing!).  His biggest problem is with hitting, he hits one of his sisters a least once a day, usually out of frustration.  Usually I take him aside and hold his offending arm firmly and say “No Hit”  then I pat his face soft and say “Soft, soft”  I then have him pet my face soft, then we go to the person whom he hit and we pat her and say “touch soft”.  What are your thoughts on this?  He just seems so immature for too much talk and of course he can’t do an extra chore, and I don’t like doing time out unless they need to cool down (just like you).

I do have a cute story to tell you.  My 5 year old daughter has a hard time picking up her room and it usually ends up being a screaming, fit throwing fight when it is time for her to pick it up.  A week or so ago I sat on her floor with her.  I pre-taught her, I said “Emma, I am going to ask you to do little jobs around your room, if you choose to say ‘ok’ then we will cheer and do a happy dance, if you say ‘no’ then you will have an extra chore once your room is clean.  Do you understand me?”  She looked at me kind of funny, I had never spoken to her like that, then she said “ok”.  I burst into clapping and cheering and did a little dance.  She giggled.  I then gave her very simple one step instructions and we cheered and danced every time she finished a task.  With every cheer someone in the family would pop into the room to see what was going on and by the time her room was finished the whole family was cheering her on and dancing with her.  It was wonderful!  She even invented her own special “happy dance” and asks me “If I do my job can we do a happy dance?”

Aimee Kieffer"


Thank you for this.  I think the way you are handling your 2 year old is fine.  Don't underestimate what they can understand though.  They can't say as much, but they have been listening to words for 2 whole years.  They know more than you think.  If you always say the same things, they will pick it all up quickly enough.  Practicing the soft touch is really good.  Practice for 2 year olds really is the most important thing to do!  They are almost all emotion at that age.  Just make sure you are not.  (wink)  

Other ideas are, be sure to have your son apologize to his sister, and have him learn to sing "Jesus Said Love Everyone" or something loving like that.  We sing this song all the time at our house.  He can learn this easy song and you can help him sing it.  Another thought is that you may want to have him do an age appropriate chore for each hitting.  (i.e. pick up a few toys, put something in the garbage, wipe a low window sill, etc.)

You are doing a great job!  So happy to hear about your successes.

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