How to Deal with Preschoolers Who Hit: 4 Steps - MakeSureHow
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Parents need to reinforce the concept that hitting is not acceptable behavior.

Instead of coming up to you to give you a big hug like usual, your toddler smacks your arm with an angry look on his face. Toddlers have limited ways to express themselves, and occasionally they engage in negative behaviors such as screaming, biting and hitting others out of frustration. This behavior needs to be controlled as soon as possible, especially if he is in preschool, because it puts other children and care providers in harmful situations.


  1. 1
    Stop the hitting as it happens. Take your toddler's hands firmly and tell her that you don't hit. Keep explanations very basic and simple since a frustrated or angry toddler is not likely to listen. Remove her from the situation if necessary to prevent the situation from escalating, especially if she continues to lash out.
  2. 2
    Look for triggers that lead to hitting. Ask yourself does he hit when he is tired, hungry or around certain people? Noticing patterns allows you to stop the hitting before it even happens by addressing the problem directly. This eliminates the desire for your toddler to express herself by hitting.
  3. 3
    notice he is about to hit someone because he won't give him a toy, take his hands and guide him to another toy or activity. You can also show him to pat gently or hug as an alternative to the negative physical contact. He needs to learn that his hands can also be used for positive actions.
  4. 4
    Teach your child better ways to handle her frustration. Explain to her that instead of hitting someone she can stomp her feet, walk away or ask an adult for help. She can tell an adult when someone takes her toy or go play with something else until her classmate is done.


  • Avoid hitting your child. Spanking your toddler only reinforces the concept of hitting and sends mixed signals. Kids mimic behaviors and won't realize it is bad to hit if you are disciplining them using physical punishment.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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