Why Toddlers Hit Themselves, and What to Do About It

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We have talked lately about what to do if your toddler is hitting or biting. Although you surely hoped your sweet kiddo would not be the hitting or biting type, you had been probably also conscious that these are typical points lots of toddlers do out of annoyance, for focus, or mainly because they lack the interaction abilities necessary to get their position throughout. What you may possibly not have been ready for, although, was them hitting by themselves.

Toddlers really don’t just lash out at others to permit their feelings free. Often, they may perhaps turn those people significant emotions inward by hitting on their own in the head with their have fingers or banging their head in opposition to a wall or other construction. Although this is less typical than hitting or biting many others, it does transpire and can be frightening when it does. Let us start off with why a toddler may possibly harm themselves in this way.

Why toddlers strike themselves

A toddler might strike them selves for several of the same sorts of motives one more toddler may well strike a person else—namely, aggravation in excess of the actuality that they simply cannot totally communicate their wants, wants, or thoughts. They could also be seeking the awareness the conduct gets, particularly if you experienced a big reaction the first time they did it—which would not be stunning, provided that it could have been surprising and shocking for you.

In some scenarios, as Healthline experiences, it may also be a self-calming or sensory-seeking habits:

Some kids crave bodily sensory activities more than other individuals or have a a little bit dulled feeling of agony in response, they may well turn to hitting them selves to fulfill the need for actual physical stimulation. Some children also flip to repetitive physical actions as a way of self-soothing when they are pressured or weary.

But unlike hitting or biting other people, there is an additional cause a toddler may hit by themselves in the head—they are in agony. If they are teething or they have an ear an infection and just can’t communicate what they are experience, they may well strike their head to try out to point out or cope with it. If you discover they are hitting their head or deal with in a specific place, that can be a clue they’re sensation soreness, so seem for other signs or symptoms.

How to take care of it in the shorter-expression

If your toddler commences hitting by themselves, the initial order of business is to 1) make absolutely sure they are bodily safe and sound, and 2) enable them relaxed down. That might imply covering corners or sharp edges if they are hitting their head on a piece of furniture, relocating them or any objects they’re working with out of get to, and wrapping your arms close to them in a bear hug that is firm enough to stop them from continuing to strike themselves (but not much too restricted). As Verywell Family recommends:

Having your arms and stopping them from hitting by themselves by blocking their fists is an choice. This action can be comforting and could possibly be plenty of to tranquil your toddler down and quit the self-personal injury. The goal is to generate a safe and sound, loving atmosphere for young ones to soften the ache or disappointment that they’re sensation.

Significantly if what they’re searching for is that sensory input, a bear hug or this style of blocking could deliver some of that enter to enable serene them. You could also test showing them a safer way to express their irritation, these as by hitting a pillow, stomping their ft, or having gradual, deep breaths. Based on the boy or girl, a handful of drinks of drinking water or a stuffed animal or pillow to squeeze may well also assist.

Talk to them in a calming voice and consider to place phrases to their feelings and the scenario by saying things like, “You look like you experience truly mad! It is hard to go away the playground, isn’t it? I would like we could keep and enjoy permanently!” This can help them truly feel listened to and understood and starts to give them the language they have to have to categorical their emotions.

How to take care of it in the very long-phrase

If the hitting is not an isolated incident, it’s essential to commence seeing for patterns or triggers. There may possibly be a particular actual physical will need, this sort of as they are hungry, thirsty, teething, or exhausted. If you know what their triggers are, you can greater head off the tantrum in advance of it even begins, and they’ll sooner or later acquire the language abilities necessary to connect all those demands.

When in doubt, if you’re worried about the behavior, it’s normally a very good notion to talk to their pediatrician. In particular, here’s when Healthline suggests you make the get in touch with:

  • You have tried using to prevent the habits with the typical approaches and nothing has changed or it’s gotten even worse.
  • Your baby is injuring by themselves (providing themselves bumps, bruises, or scratches).
  • Your child has delayed speech or looks not able to listen to you clearly.
  • Your baby is exhibiting signals of bodily health issues, like fever, reduction of appetite, fatigue, or irritability.
  • Your youngster also has indicators of a developmental ailment, like autism spectrum disorder or sensory processing disorder.

Pediatricians see these behaviors frequently, so they’ll have guidance on no matter if one thing is most likely a stage or when it is time to do a actual physical examination or refer you to a expert. In the meantime, they may have other strategies in addition to the types talked about listed here that may perhaps be practical for you and your kid.