How do I get my 18 month old daughter to stop hitting?

Erin - posted on 09/06/2011 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I need suggestions on how to get our 18 month old daughter to stop hitting. We have a very strict no hitting policy in our house and we are not sure where she picked it up at, but she hits all the time. When we tell her no, she hits more! We are at a loss. She doesn't understand timeout, she thinks it is a game. Help please!!!

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Melissa - posted on 09/08/2011

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Hitting is a very normal toddler response. It is not a 'learned behavior' so much as a reaction to strong emotion and very little verbal ability. Try narrating what is happening for her i.e. "You really want to play outside right now, you are so mad at mommy for not letting you go out" Often giving words to their feelings calms them down significantly. Remind her hitting hurts and it is never okay, but stay calm yourself. The bigger the reaction, the more exciting to her (positive or negative) If you use time out think of it as a time out from whatever stimulating activity or situation is going on. It should be a time to calm down and regroup at this age.

Sarah - posted on 09/20/2011

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The thing that worked for us was this: when my son Wouk hit I would say in a calm voice "oh no! We don't hit! We have sweet hands! Can you show mommy your sweet hands?" and he does this thing with his hands, wiggling them in the air. And I say "alright! Sweet hands. We're nice with our sweet hands!" and then model the kind behavior by hugging, petting (if it's a dog), or patting. He loves it!

Katie - posted on 09/12/2011

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I use the naughty step for my 19 month old. He does hit his brother quite a lot and if i see him do it i give him a warning and if he does it again i put him on the step for approx 1 and a half minutes. If i see him do something quite malicious he goes straight to the step and i use my voice to let him know what he has done was naughty. Then once his time out is finished he has to say sorry to the person he has smacked (which is a kiss and a cuddle because he cant actually say sorry!) then we continue! Persivere and they get the hang of whats allowed and whats not!

Pam - posted on 09/10/2011

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Ugh.... I'm dealing with the exact same thing right now as well. Hitting, pinching, etc. We give time outs and they don't seem to work that great, but on occassion they do calm her down. We've even had to give her a time out the second she leaves the last time out. It's very draining but I'm just hoping that staying consistent will do the trick! good luck!!!

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Melissa - posted on 09/21/2011

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Sarah, That is so perfect! Toddlers hit for many reasons, frustration, excitement, curiosity etc. Not out of simple 'defiance'. This response helps guide them to the correct behavior instead of punishing the wrong one. Put the attention on the positive I say! :-)

Kinder - posted on 09/16/2011

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when my 18month old boy hits or throws things i make him sit down on the couch to calm down every time he gets off i put him bk on with out givin him eye contact unless he starts playing up i'll tell him with a strong voice to sit down and its naughty to throw hope this helps xx

Carol - posted on 09/12/2011

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take away something she enjoys doing or a favorite toy for a bit... let her learn consequence...

Tammy - posted on 09/12/2011

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My daughter doesn't understand a timeout at all, it just makes her really upset. I will definatly try again when she is a bit older and can understand better tho. For now, when she hits, I hold her hands and tell her to look me in the eye.. Then I ask her "do you hit mommy, daddy, dog etc" If she doesn't say no, I tell her "no, we don't hit, it hurts _____". I then ask her to say sorry and give a kiss and hug to whoever she's hit. Seems to work so far!

Martine - posted on 09/07/2011

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When she hits just remove her from the situation and place her in a seperate area. They do understand time out, they just don't like it.

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