Upset toddler

9 Easy Steps To Teach Your Toddler Not To Hit

As parents, guiding our toddlers through the maze of emotions and behaviours can often be challenging. One of the more distressing behaviours parents encounter is when their toddler starts hitting. It’s crucial to address this behaviour early on to prevent it from becoming a habit. Teaching a toddler not to hit involves patience, consistency, and understanding. Here are some effective strategies to guide your child toward more appropriate behaviour:

9 Easy Steps To Teach Your Toddler Not to Hit

Understanding The Cause

Before addressing the behaviour, it’s essential to understand why your toddler might be hitting. Toddlers are still learning to communicate their feelings and needs effectively. Hitting can be a way for them to express frustration, anger, or a need for attention. By understanding the underlying cause, you can respond more appropriately.

Model And Encourage Positive Behaviour

Children often mimic the behaviour they see around them. Be a positive role model by demonstrating non-violent conflict resolution. Show empathy, kindness, and patience in your interactions. Encourage gentle behaviour through praise and positive reinforcement when your toddler chooses non-violent ways to express themselves.

Teach Alternative Ways To Express Emotions

Since toddlers may hit due to an inability to express their emotions verbally, teach them alternative ways to communicate. Use words to label their emotions and offer them acceptable ways to express themselves. For instance, encourage saying, “I’m mad” or “I need space” rather than resorting to hitting.

Saying “No” And Explaining Why

We need to tell our toddlers hitting is not okay. Using simple words, we can explain why hitting hurts and makes others sad. We should say “no” each time they hit and be fair each time we respond.

Establish Clear Boundaries And Consequences

Set clear boundaries by explaining that hitting is not acceptable behaviour. Use simple language that your toddler can understand and be consistent in enforcing these boundaries. However, it’s equally important to pair these boundaries with positive reinforcement when they abide by them and choose more appropriate behaviour.

Toddlers hugging

Stay Calm And Respond Consistently

In the moment of a hitting incident, it’s crucial to stay calm. Reacting angrily or harshly may confuse your child or reinforce the behaviour. Instead, calmly intervene, separating the child from the situation, and explain why hitting is unacceptable. Consistency in your response will help reinforce the message over time.

Encourage Empathy And Understanding

Help your toddler understand the impact of their actions by emphasising how hitting hurts others. Encourage empathy by asking them to imagine how the other person feels when hurt. Reading books or using toys to role-play scenarios can help reinforce this concept in a way that’s relatable to them.

Offer Positive Reinforcement And Praise

When your toddler shows restraint or chooses a non-violent way to express themselves, praise their behaviour. Positive reinforcement, such as verbal praise, a hug, or a reward system, can motivate them to continue this positive behaviour.

Seek Professional Help If Necessary

Persistent hitting despite consistent guidance might require professional intervention. Consulting a paediatrician, child psychologist, or counsellor can provide additional strategies tailored to your child’s needs.


Teaching toddlers not to hit involves patience, understanding, and consistent guidance. By addressing the root cause, modelling positive behaviour, teaching alternative ways to express emotions, and setting clear boundaries, parents can help toddlers navigate their emotions more effectively. Remember, each child is unique, so finding the right approach may take time, but with patience and dedication, you can guide your toddler toward more positive and non-violent ways of expressing themselves.

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  1. I have been trying to change my one year old from a feeding bottle to a feeding cup. He just cries and doesn’t even wanna look at the cup sometimes. Please share any thing I can try because I feel like he’s to old for the bottle and will ruin his teeth.

    • With my daughter I explained to her that we were going to stop with bottles because she is a big girl and I told her I would buy her a special toy on the day she gives up her bottle. I gave her a week to get used to the idea and we spoke about it every day. When the time came it went quite well compared to what I expected. I took her on a special trip to the shop for her to choose her toy. Every time she wanted a bottle I got out her toy and reminded her that she is big and gets a sippy cup.

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