Magazine article Working Mother

Ask Dr. Sears

Magazine article Working Mother

Ask Dr. Sears

Article excerpt

Our 18-month-old has started hitting his playmates! How can we teach him not to do this, and what can our caregiver do?

A: Hitting, biting and other aggressive behaviors are most common between the ages of 18 months and 2½ years because many children this age havent yet developed the ability to verbally express their needs and frustrations. So when things don't go their way, they're more likely to employ the tools they do know how to use: their teeth and hands. To tame your little one's outlaw behavior, try these strategies.

Time-out the hitter. Both you and your caregiver need to teach your toddler that undesirable behavior leads to consequences. In our family, we've employed the concept, "If you hit, then you must sit." As soon as your child shows physical aggression, remove him from play, take him into another room and sit with him for a few minutes.

Identify the triggers. Keep track of circumstances that might lead to aggressive behavior. For example, if your child's caregiver notices that he's more likely to hit when he's around many children in a small space, try to keep him out of chaotic environments as much as possible. …

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