How do I teach a 20 month old not to hit?

User - posted on 05/03/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )




I care for a 20 month old. He has just learned to hit. He hits with toys and especially his cereal bowl and cup. He doesn't seem to do it out of frustration. He laughs and thinks it is funny. I know that a hand swat just reinforces hitting. I have done the holding of the hands and looking him in the eyes and saying sternly "no hitting". We have done the time outs. I am not sure he really understands what hitting is. I cannot have him hitting other children. His mom says he is now hitting her at home as well. We are both out of ideas.


Cecilia - posted on 05/05/2013




Most of the time, time outs don't work until about the age 3. they really don't get what is going on until then. When he does it correct the behavior right away and tell him "that wasn't nice, I don't like when you do that. That is not allowed." The thing is he might understand a different definition of hitting. Maybe to him hitting is done to hurt and what he is doing is to play so he thinks it is fine. If he uses an item to hit with he loses that item, possibly for the entire day (such as a toy). If he uses his bowl or cup to hit- he loses it. He wasn't done eating.. opps too bad. Maybe he will have to have a piece of toast on a plate instead for the day.

Have you guys tried to reward for not hitting? I know it sounds a little strange but give him a sticker chart and if he gets to lunch time without hitting he gets a sticker, if he gets to dinner time he get another (or if he goes from lunch to dinner without hitting). Then make stickers = rewards. Maybe after 5 stickers he can do something or get something special. Maybe a trip to the park or mommy will make him his favorite dinner... anything that will motivate him.

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