Is it normal for a 2.5 year old to sometimes bang his head?

Erica - posted on 03/13/2011 ( 14 moms have responded )

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My 2.5 year old boy is loving, social, makes great eye contact and speaks fairly well. The only problem I am worrying about is that sometimes he will randomly bang his head on either the wall or couch. He does not do it every day, and only bangs his head a couple of times per episode, but I worry it's not normal. He also bangs lightly. His pediatrician says he is fine and definitely does not have autism or aspergers. I even got a second opinion that agreed. Again, though, I worry because I don't know why he does it. He does NOT do it when he is having a tantrun, so I really am not sure what the trigger is. Could it be exploration? Like "what would it feel like if I did this?"

If your little one did this, at what age did it stop? The pediatrician told me that normal head banging can last until the age of 4.

Anyway, I wish I could just calm down about this and that the behavior would go away, LOL.

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Alison - posted on 03/17/2011

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Sometimes kids just know what gets attention! What else could scare parents more than head banging?? With the parents that I work with, this problem has definitely come up.
Your reactions possibly are giving attention. If you rush over, or say stop, or any number of things to give attention, frequently that behavior increases.
So, if he's banging his head on something that won't hurt him or is banging it lightly, just ignore it. Walk out of the room, turn your head, put a magazine in front of your face or something! If he bangs it hard and you are worried, go to him (but don't look or talk to him because that gives attention), put your hand where he's banging (to protect his head) and turn your face away. Often head banging starts by an accidental "bang" and kids see the reaction and do it again just for the power of doing it! The fact that he's banging lightly is a clue that he knows it hurts to bang it hard!
You've done everything by checking medically! Try this and see how it works!

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Mrs. M. - posted on 03/17/2011

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I think its exploration, but mention it to the pediatrictian. He might find interesting how it sounds inside his head, and how different surfaces yield different levels of intensity. If he does it painfully, then I would think it a little out of the norm, but then again, what is normal today? nothing.

Teresa - posted on 03/17/2011

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my son did that when he was round 1-2 and the he finally realized one day that it hurt... cuz he would do that on the floor in the middle of a fit when he got mad... he stopped on his own... so hope ur son does the same thing..

Jenn - posted on 03/17/2011

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My daughter did it while she was younger. around 16 months They were during tantrums, other times just to see how it was. We went on a 12 hour flight with her and she would bang her head on the window because she liked the sound and the reaction. As long as its not too dangerous just ignore it. They like that you react to it,

Sandy - posted on 03/17/2011

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My daughter banged her head a couple times during a tantrum and stopped when it hurt more than the tantrum was worth. She also kept banging her head on concrete poles (as seen in parking garages) for the attention. We stopping paying attention to it, and she stopped doing it. It started around 20 months and lasted about a year.

If your child doesn't get over it or cause real damage, take it to an expert. It's normal to a point. Unfortunately that point varies with every child. Good luck! ☺

Shanelle - posted on 03/16/2011

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My son will be 4 in May and he does that too. I think that they like the sound and to them the reaction that they get from us is funny.

Dora - posted on 03/16/2011

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Could he be experiencing headaches from maybe vision problems? I am just curious. I know quite a few moms say it is normal but also every child is different. I do know that at that age they are also learning how to express themselves and do it in different ways. If he is not hurting himself then he is probably ok. Is he at the point where you can ask him in simple terms just to see what he says. You can also copy him when he does it and see if he laughs about it. If he does then don't worry at all.

Ashleigh Jade - posted on 03/15/2011

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I agree with others, my almost 3yo use to do it out of anger, its a just a phase, he will stop.

Pia - posted on 03/14/2011

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My son bangs his head on the couch too he's a couple of months older than yours. It's perfectly normal. He makes a game out of it!!

Pia - posted on 03/14/2011

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My son bangs his head on the couch too he's a couple of months older than yours. It's perfectly normal. He makes a game out of it!!

Jennifer - posted on 03/13/2011

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its normal their learning cause and effect. as long as hes not getting hurt by doing this

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