Hitting and slapping is a common behaviour that toddlers go through, so try not to take it to heart. As they can’t speak, many toddlers may use their hands to express their emotions and communicate; however, it can be pretty frustrating and hard to accept.
Fortunately, we have six handy tips to help you break the habit:
Your little one is probably just looking for attention or is struggling to communicate so it is important that you don’t over react to the slap. A raction is exactly what your youngster is looking for an they will keep slapping as long as you keep reacting to it.
Model appropriate behaviour
Never smack them back or tap them on the hand as they will learn to associate slapping with resolving a situation. Telling them that slapping is bad will be ineffective if you do it to them.
Try to establish the triggers
Identifying the triggers will help you to recognise if your little one is about to hit or slap and stop it before it does happen. Try to determine if it is due to being tired, bored or hungry and avoid these situations as much as possible.
Teach them how to communicate properly
Your toddler may be hitting because they are trying to get your attention, so it is important that you teach them how to communicate properly. Show your kiddie how to get your attention with soft hand gestures like waving or gently tapping. This may take a little time before it sinks in but it will be worth it in the end.
Praise good behaviour
Reward your child for showing or imitating the appropriate behaviour; describe what they did so that they will know to do it again.
Show them the effects of negative actions
After your toddler hits or slaps you, tell them that it hurts and describe your feelings to them in a calm manner. This way they will begin to understand that their slapping is actually hurting you.
Never give in to the hitting and continuously reinforce positive behaviour until they learn not to slap.