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.
We asked our community of mothers for advice and these are the suggestions they came up with.
Adapting to Playschool
Sending a child to school at 1.5 years of age may not be a good idea. The child may not be equipped to handle school at this tender age. It’s quite normal for a child to cry at this age due to separation anxiety and the stress of meeting strangers at school.
However, you can make the transition easier by narrating fascinating stories about school, teachers and activities, to help your child look forward to going to playschool. You could also try first sending your child to summer camp where they have fun activities, so they get used to the idea of going to school.
Take the child to school half an hour early to show them how all their friends come to school without crying. Stay with the child until they are calm. You can try giving some small gifts to the teacher that they can then hand to the child as they come in. This will help them look forward to going to school.
Ask the teachers to help them adapt by allowing them to play only as it is not time to study at this age. Share your child’s likes and dislikes with the teachers as there is no issue with letting them indulge the child at this age.
Most kids love to be with other kids and they should settle down and start enjoying school in a month or so. You could ask your baby if there is some aspect of the classroom that is bothering them. It may be cold, or they may not like the teacher, or perhaps they are being bullied by other kids.
Taking a Bath
Proper time management is essential to get kids into a routine. Early to bed, early to rise is a good practice to follow. Teach them that brushing and bathing are good habits. YouTube has some nice videos for kids showing why cleanliness is important. You can find ones featuring characters like the Teletubbies that your child loves.
Try getting the child some fun bath toys to play with in the tub while bathing. Let them have fun and only start cleaning them with soap when they are enjoying the water. You could wait till afternoon to give them a bath. Not everyone likes taking a bath in the morning, especially in winter.
Thanks to these amazing moms for their input:
Geetanjali Kirti, Seema Kukreja, Grishma Jeegar Doshi, Neelam Das, Dr.Kirti Bansal, Neelam Das, Prerna Mahajan, Papiya Dawn, Panchami Praveen Shamain, Radha Vishwanath, Lavanya Reddy, Deepti Chaturvedi Roy, Pooja Sharma, Shweta Koul, Jayshree Banerjee, Aditi Dahiya Khera, Sindu Anand, Papiya Dawn, Savita Chaudhary, Chitrashree Harsha.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.