It comes as a shock to many parents when they first learn that their toddler has been hitting others. Most times, toddlers start displaying aggressive behaviour when they are exposed to a new environment (read: playschools). This is a common problem and parents need not stress over it.
Your toddler is still struggling with his linguistic skills and cannot properly communicate what he wishes to. This is also the stage when your little one is learning to be independent and begins making decisions of his own. All of this combines with the impulse to try and control the others make children of this age get physical. A little hitting and biting is completely normal for a toddler, but parents should not ignore this behaviour. Parents should let their toddler know that aggressive behaviour is unacceptable through different ways.
Apoorva came to us with the same problem, recently her 2.7 year old tot has developed the habit of hitting his peers at his school and she is looking out for help. Our SOS Moms gave their two cents to Apoorva on this issue.
Deepti Pathak advices Apoorva to simply stay calm, “Wait for another six months. Your problem is very common”, whereas Rekha Meena observes, “I just can’t understand why today kids develop the habit of hitting others. I’m a mother of 2 kids and both of them are very disciplined. When they misbehave initially, stop them immediately so they come to know what is wrong and right. Mother is the first teacher.”
Harsha Rajiv on the other hand has a logic we parents often overlook, “Usually when a kid gets hurt, elders in the house to console the kid say ‘Wait I’ll hit this thing that hurt you’ and thinking the kid will stop crying. This is really bad. Do divert the attention of kid saying something else, I tell my kid to stop crying so the magical fairy can come. I think problem is if the kid doesn’t like something he hits, even if it is a person. You have to convey a message to the kid with the support of teacher saying that hitting hurts. You have to keep trying to make him understand, don’t give up.”
Bhuvaneshwari Narayanan says, “It may be a reflection of what your kid sees around him. Home environment, wordy duels between parents, cartoons exhibiting hitting behaviours or may be he is hit by either of the parents or elders at home when he troubles you. We have to start talking to the kid who exhibits such rude behaviour. Even if you shout at him or punish him, it is not going to help. Don’t hit him back, instead take time to spend more time with him. Whenever he is cranky give him something to eat. Again don’t feed him with foods loaded with sugar. Give him homemade food. Take him to a park, play area and indulge in physical playing. This will calm him down. Especially swinging him in a swing for 20 minutes minimum daily would definitely calm his aggression.”
Toddlers can be a handful to their parents. With all the energy and enthusiasm toddlers possess, it can be difficult to deal with them. But no parent should take their kid’s aggressive behaviour lightly, parents should explain to their children the consequences of hitting immediately. Sending quality time and a few measures can solve this problem once and for all.
We thank all the moms who came to Apoorva’s rescue:
Bhuvaneshwari Narayanan, Harsha Rajiv, Deepti Pathak, Rekha Meena, Robe Samarth Gaonkar and Rajnideep Sandhu.
By the age of two, children become independent enough to be walking on their own. As they develop this skill, is also when they regress and suddenly become clingy. They just want to be carried everywhere and throw tantrums when denied. It is at this point that the kid is torn between his independent impulses and the very compelling desire to be attached to the parent.
This is a difficult phase for the parents as well, because every sentence that the kid speaks begins with ‘mom’ or ‘dad’. Every waking moment of theirs is spent carrying the clingy toddler until their biceps burn. To make things worse, in some cases, the other parent is not even allowed to help.
Research suggests that periodic clinginess is normal, and it’s a sign that you and your child have a healthy relationship. However, the kid’s waffling between the two extremes of independence and dependence is very taxing for both, the kid, and the parents. They are befuddled if they should give the kid a pat on the back and tell him to man up, or if they should simply accept the whole scenario as it is.
Again, we bring to you our SOS Moms whose suggestions are based on experience–
At the outset, we have Shabnam Desai, who suggests, “If you are a working mother, maybe the baby is missing you too much. Try to spend more time with your little one. Maybe the baby is afraid about something. Look around for signs if something is going wrong when certain people are coming near the baby, and not only people also check out the toys. Some kids are not comfortable with certain toys, especially soft toys because of the fur. Try to comfort the baby and please keep your cool or matters can get worse. Check whether the baby is teething or any other ailments and consult the doctor”.
Next, Rajni Kashvi Jaiswal adds, “Because maybe now herecognises you as his parents, he has become clingy suddenly.”
Mums, Jyot Kaur, Neha Singh, Shruti Singhal Garg and Sneha Agrawal collectively assert that teething may be the reason the kid has suddenly turned clingy. They suggest the use of ‘Calcarea Phosphorica’ as a solution for teething problem in toddlers. However, this needs to be done only after consulting a paediatric doctor.
Lastly, Chetana Suvarna Ganatra blames the kid’s clingy behaviour to separation anxiety he may be going through.
A tip from our end; try to make walking fun for him and don’t scold the kid. Remember, the kid has shorter legs, so he/she will take more time to cross the same distance. Also, keep the outings on foot brief and have a stroller ready as a backup plan.
Nitu Singh wrote to us and told us about a concern she has for her son who is almost 4 years old. She says that he is violent and aggressive at home as well as in school and has also started hitting people wherever he goes. She wants to know how she can handle this behaviour of his. She is concerned and has asked us for some advice.
We asked our community of parents online for their advice and have incorporated their feedback below.
Although it is shocking, aggression can develop even in normal kids, who may react to fearful incidents or to other people with violence. A lot of the time it happens because kids are unable to express themselves in healthier ways, such as verbally.
Most kids outgrow such behaviour as they learn to express themselves verbally. However, this does not mean it is acceptable behaviour.
First, assess whether it is something in your child’s environment that is causing the aggression. Too much exposure to violent cartoons can cause behavioural changes in kids. Limit his exposure to television and any violent games or influences.
Ensure that he is not being abused, either physically or emotionally, by a maid or a member of the household. Ensure that you and your spouse are dealing with your differences in a healthy manner. If there is any abuse or violence in the household, the child will pick it up as acceptable.
Respond quickly to any aggressive or violent behaviour. Do not wait until it gets too bad and never lose your own temper. Stop your child calmly, but firmly, and give them a brief “time-out” to cool down. Remove them from any situations where they may cause harm to themselves or others.
Be consistent in setting limits. Do not give in at any time and never allow them to get away with hitting or any other acts of violence. Ensure that there are consequences, like missing out on fun with others, or taking away their games or toys until they calm down.
Try to get your child to talk about their frustrations when they have calmed down. Make a genuine attempt to understand what they are going through. You could also keep a behaviour chart and reward good behaviour with stars and a treat at the end of the week.
Make sure your child is expending his energy in a healthy way. Let him take up a sport, perhaps something that you can be part of, so that he vents in a healthy manner. Spending more quality time with your child may also help.
If all your efforts fail, take your child to a child psychologist for an evaluation.
Our thanks go out to all these helpful parents:
Puneet Wadhwani, Nivedita Poddar, Misha Bhattal, Pooja Ahuja, Vyona Lobo Ribeiro, Pooja W. Mazumder, Bharath Reddy, Madhusmita Mishra, Misha Bhattal, Aman Tiwari
Image courtesy of Photokanok / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
She wants to know how she can make him have his milk from a cup. She is concerned and has asked us for some advice.
We posted the question to our ever-helpful community of parents and have included their advice below.
It is not unusual for kids to resist new things. You might want to try a transition from a bottle to a Sipper cup, instead of a normal cup. A sippy cup with a straw might be easier to drink out of.
Get your child an attractive sippy cup with a cartoon they like. You could try adding sugar or jaggery in the drink to tempt them. You could also try distracting him with television or stories or songs.
Put him in a group with other kids who drink from cups. Also encourage other family members to drink from cups in front of him. He is more likely to try to imitate them and want to drink from a cup.
The main issue is not to get stressed about it. Every child is different and transitions to a new behaviour in their own time. It might take time and patience on your part, but your child will ultimately start drinking from a cup when he is ready to do so.
Thanks to all these moms for their helpful advice:
Poonam Botadra Mehta, Roopa Mahesh, Revathi Phani Krishna, HS Meshaha Clair, Angel Aman, Shirin Mandviwala, Sunitha Raj, Bhuvaneshwari Suryanarayanan, Richa Agrawal, Priyanka Dhadve Gosavi, Chital Panchal, Bhuvaneshwari Suryanarayanan, Janki Shah, Hema Bhat, Nandini Mangla, Zahin Shaikh
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Kids who are aware of their strengths and weakness are more positive, feel confident, find it easier to handle pressures, and are more optimistic.
On the other hand, children with low self-esteem find it challenging and are relatively more anxious and frustrated than others.
A child’s self-esteem affects their day-to-day activities and affects their relationships with others.
A positive self-esteem helps the child to believe in their own values, make right decisions under pressure, confidently interact with others, handle stress and challenges and make healthier choices.
Read on for some tips to help foster your child’s self-esteem.
Love and Acceptance: Love your child to the utmost and spend lots of quality time. A child benefits the most when you are able to accept him regardless of their strengths, weaknesses and abilities. Give him or her plenty of kisses, hugs, cuddles, pats and affection.
Focus on the Child: By listening to them and playing with them. Show interest in things, games and activities that they enjoy and let them guide play. This makes them feel important and valuable.
Consistency: Decide and enforce clear rules that must be followed by the child at each stage of life. Tell him what you expect and what punishment would be given if the rules were not followed. This helps them to feel safe and secure and grow more confident in making own decisions.
Support Change: Encourage the child to try something new, like make a new friend or try a new food. There is always possibility of risk, but the chances for success are also equally same if not high. Try letting them explore and experiment to build their self-esteem by finding the right balance between the need to protect him or her with the want to embark upon new tasks.
Problem-Solve: Offer various chances to solve problems so that the child understands he or she has control over his or her own life. Help the child correct the mistakes and talk about how it can be done differently the next time.
Offer Empathy and Encouragement: If your child feels frustrated because he cannot do things like his peers, empathize and then emphasize on of his or her other strengths. This will help them learn their own personal strengths and weaknesses. Young ones also require ample amounts of encouragement from their parents and loved ones to feel good about themselves.
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Over time, parents also tend to decode all the communication and understand their needs. New research states that baby talk, or high-pitched, extended vowels from parents, help babies learn language quicker and pick up words faster.
What is Baby Talk?
Baby talk or ‘parentese’ is not about using language or words to attempt to sound like a baby. Rather, the language used to communicate with babies is the same that is used when chatting with an adult. However, the way it is spoken is more simple, repetitive and exaggerated.
Research states that baby talk or cooing helps babies develop several capabilities, such as the ability to differentiate different speech sounds, notice the line between words and a flow of speech, and learn the skills of getting acquainted with discrete phrases.
How to Support your Baby’s Language Development?
Studies have found that kids whose parents talked in parentese, i.e. talked to them at a higher pitch and with elongated vowels had learned nearly three times more words by the age of two. (Source)
This comparison was made against kids whose parents used more adult-directed language. So using baby talk can actually help improve your child’s vocabulary, which is probably why parents do it instinctively.
Keep in mind these guidelines to help support your baby’s language development. Foremost, respond to all your baby’s cries. In the first couple of months and for some even a year, communication is mainly through crying. By responding to their cries, babies are assured that they would be listened to and that their needs would be met.
Secondly, try and initiate conversations with your little one. Emphasis on responding to their coo’s before you coo back. This conversation practice helps them understand that they would be responded to when they try to communicate.
Try to talk to your baby naturally and at all instances. It is a fact that babies understand many things before they actually speak. By regularly talking to your baby and listening to them, they will eventually comprehend and speak your language.
It may feel awkward the first few times you do this, however, it is sure to make an impact. Talk to your baby about daily happenings and about things that you are going to do with them. For example: “Mommy is going to feed you some stewed apple. Do you like it?”
Emphasize singing and storytelling as finger plays and movements and teach them words with physical prompts attached to them. For example the baby can ask to listen to the clapping song by clapping their hands, even before he or she actually learn how to say it.
Story books and other books with attractive pictures are a hit with most babies. Repetitive reading will encourage more steps for interacting with the little ones. To summarize, the most important thing to help babies learn language is to enjoy language and communicate with baby talk at all instances with them.
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Parents rapidly learn that shakers turn out to be their baby’s favorite toys. Singing a lullaby will rapidly lull their babies to sleep. Obviously, there is a relationship between music and your baby’s brain.
What parents might not understand is that these melodic foundations are changing the brain of their infant in ways that will nurture them all through their lives.
Several studies conducted by psychologists examining the association between music and brain growth in young children, all found that premature exposure to music enhances abilities in several other areas, including arithmetic and language.
Research suggests that music has a positive impact on the physical growth of premature babies and can promote serenity in infants.
Synapses Are Formed In Early Childhood
The initial three years of the life of a baby are the most important for brain growth. While the brain of a newborn baby is only 25 % of its mature weight, by the age of three years, the brain grows dramatically and constructs connections, known as synapses, between its many cells.
The synapses employed for classical music are akin to those employed for spatial and chronological reasoning, which are talents required for arithmetic. Just listening to classical music can activate the synapses.
The Mozart Effect
A study published in a magazine in the year 1993 examined college students who showed improved intelligence following exposure to music by Mozart.
The Mozart Effect was interpreted to suggest listening to classical music made people and even babies smarter, but investigations done by psychologists solidified the idea that early exposure to music develops cognitive abilities.
Learning Music Helps Even More
These psychologists discovered preschoolers who took music lessons performed better at spatial and chronological way of thinking tasks than those who was given computer lessons.
As this research is derived from preschool children, successive studies suggest similar benefits can be seen by exposing kids to music during their baby years, when their brains are growing the most.
They also suggest that listening to classical music offers only provisional benefits, whereas musical lessons has more enduring effects, since it in fact creates new paths in the brain.
Music And Education
The Texas University’s Center for Music Learning at Austin, found that babies can classify acoustic stimuli. Their study showed babies at the age of seven months could distinguish resonance and tune and could identify a tune when played on a single musical device.
Singing is a perfect way to promote language growth, and the examination of words and poems in the course of a known tune increases memory. The brain of an infant is not completely developed at birth, and requires a sensory key to the cells to construct and connect synapses.
Music offers an acoustic means of stimulus that can also carry enriching concepts, for example, language, which will grow as a baby acquires cognitive skills.
So now that you know how music benefits your baby’s brain, do you plan to expose your child to music or give them lessons? Share with us in the comments below and let us know.
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