How To Get Your Child To Stop Hitting
Hitting is a common form of aggression in children. Sometimes children may hit in defense, other times hitting may occur for various other reasons.
If your child hits, this behavior can be altered over a period of time. It is a process, so you shouldn’t expect it to stop overnight. These guidelines can help you deal with children who hit:
1) Monitor activities. If you know your child is hitting, the first step of action to take is to closely monitor your child during any activities. Be sure to keep an eye out for hitting, biting, or scratching. If your child displays any of this behavior, you should remove him immediately from the situation.
2) Take control. After removing your child from a volatile setting, take control right away. Hold your child close to you. Don’t allow her to wiggle free from your grasp. To calm your child down, first make eye contact. Talk to your child in a soft, but firm tone of voice. Instruct her that her behavior is unacceptable. At first, you may find great difficulty in calming your child. After a few times though your child will recognize this calming routine and will comply quicker.
3) Use a timer. If your child becomes aggressive during playtime with other children, consider using a timer. Give each child three minutes with the toy, for example. Let your child know that when his turn comes, he will be given three minutes with the toy. Keep reminding him of this as he waits his turn. After your child’s turn is finished and he passes the toy on to the next child, praise your child for sharing the toy.
4) Enforce a Positive Time Out. Many parents are familiar with the time out routine of placing your child in a corner or naughty seat for a time out. Instead of using this approach, implement a Positive Time Out when your child hits.
5) Provide an alternative to hitting. When a child doesn’t know how to verbally express her feelings, she will use physical force as her method of communication. As a parent, you have the ability to teach your child how to communicate without hitting. Help your child verbalize feelings and thoughts by using their words instead of hitting. Give them special phrases they can use to express what they’re feeling, like, “George really hurt my feelings,” or “What Mary said to me was really mean.”
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