Why Toddlers Hit Themselves, and What to Do About It

Illustration for article titled Why Toddlers Hit Themselves, and What to Do About It

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We’ve talked lately about what to do in case your toddler is hitting or biting. Though you definitely hoped your candy kiddo wouldn’t be the hitting or biting kind, you had been in all probability additionally conscious that these are widespread issues many toddlers do out of frustration, for consideration, or as a result of they lack the communication abilities essential to get their level throughout. What you could not have been ready for, although, was them hitting themselves.

Toddlers don’t simply lash out at others to let their emotions unfastened. Typically, they might flip these huge emotions inward by hitting themselves within the head with their very own arms or banging their head towards a wall or different construction. Though that is much less widespread than hitting or biting others, it does occur and might be scary when it does. Let’s begin with why a toddler would possibly hurt themselves on this approach.

Why toddlers hit themselves

A toddler would possibly hit themselves for lots of the similar types of causes one other toddler could hit another person—particularly, frustration over the truth that they will’t totally talk their desires, wants, or emotions. They could even be looking for the eye the habits receives, significantly if you happen to had an enormous response the primary time they did it—which might not be shocking, on condition that it could have been surprising and surprising for you.

In some instances, as Healthline reports, it could even be a self-soothing or sensory-seeking habits:

Some youngsters crave bodily sensory experiences greater than others or have a barely dulled sense of ache; in response, they could flip to hitting themselves to meet the will for bodily stimulation. Some youngsters additionally flip to repetitive bodily actions as a approach of self-soothing once they’re confused or drained.

However in contrast to hitting or biting others, there’s one more reason a toddler could hit themselves within the head—they’re in ache. If they’re teething or they’ve an ear an infection and may’t talk what they’re feeling, they might hit their head to attempt to point out or deal with it. Should you discover they’re hitting their head or face in a selected spot, that may be a clue they’re feeling ache, so search for different signs.

The right way to deal with it within the short-term

In case your toddler begins hitting themselves, the primary order of enterprise is to 1) make certain they’re bodily secure, and a couple of) assist them settle down. That will imply masking corners or sharp edges in the event that they’re hitting their head on a bit of furnishings, shifting them or any objects they’re utilizing out of attain, and wrapping your arms round them in a bear hug that’s agency sufficient to stop them from persevering with to hit themselves (however not too tight). As Verywell Family recommends:

Taking your arms and stopping them from hitting themselves by blocking their fists is an possibility. This motion might be comforting and is likely to be sufficient to calm your toddler down and cease the self-injury. The aim is to create a secure, loving atmosphere for teenagers to melt the ache or frustration that they’re feeling.

Significantly if what they’re looking for is that sensory enter, a bear hug or such a blocking could present a few of that enter to assist calm them. You can additionally attempt exhibiting them a safer technique to categorical their frustration, reminiscent of by hitting a pillow, stomping their ft, or taking gradual, deep breaths. Relying on the kid, a number of drinks of water or a stuffed animal or pillow to squeeze may also assist.

Speak to them in a chilled voice and attempt to put phrases to their emotions and the scenario by saying issues like, “You appear to be you are feeling actually mad! It’s exhausting to depart the playground, isn’t it? I want we might keep and play endlessly!” This helps them really feel heard and understood and begins to offer them the language they should categorical their feelings.

The right way to deal with it within the long-term

If the hitting isn’t an remoted incident, it’s necessary to begin looking ahead to patterns or triggers. There could also be a selected bodily want, reminiscent of they’re hungry, thirsty, teething, or drained. If you realize what their triggers are, you’ll be able to higher head off the tantrum earlier than it even begins, and so they’ll finally develop the language abilities wanted to speak these wants.

When unsure, if you happen to’re involved in regards to the habits, it’s all the time a good suggestion to speak to their pediatrician. Specifically, right here’s when Healthline suggests you make the decision:

  • You’ve tried to cease the habits with the same old methods and nothing has modified or it’s gotten worse.
  • Your youngster is injuring themselves (giving themselves bumps, bruises, or scratches).
  • Your youngster has delayed speech or appears unable to listen to you clearly.
  • Your youngster is exhibiting indicators of bodily sickness, like fever, lack of urge for food, fatigue, or irritability.
  • Your youngster additionally has signs of a developmental situation, like autism spectrum dysfunction or sensory processing dysfunction.

Pediatricians see these behaviors typically, so that they’ll have recommendation on whether or not one thing is probably going a section or when it’s time to do a bodily examination or refer you to a specialist. Within the meantime, they might produce other methods along with those talked about right here which may be useful for you and your youngster.


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