I was talking to a friend recently and she was telling me that her toddler (18 months) was throwing everything, (including tantrums!) She wasn’t just throwing toys and house decorations around, but she was throwing things at people.
The hard part about having a toddler is that while they understand what they are doing, their temptations get the best of them. It can be hard for them to resist the urge to do whatever they think. When a thought comes to mind, they just do it. I work with children this age on a daily basis and I have had to deal with this several times. Here is my best advice:
- Take the toy away, while sternly saying, “No. Do not throw.”
- If he continues to throw, repeat step #1, but include a time out on the bottom step or in a designated space in your home. (one minute per year of age)
- Be consistent. It will be VERY time consuming, but do this every single time that he throws something at someone.
- Distract him by making it fun. Instead of turning it into a “negative” thing, can you try to turn it into an actual game of throwing? Say, “When you want to throw a ball, say BALL,” and bring him a ball instead. Some kids react wonderfully to this. It takes away the purpose of why they were throwing an object and turns it into something positive.
- Ignore the behavior, if you feel that it is a lack of impulse control. Depending on the age of the child, ignoring it may be the best thing.
- Encourage positive play. Sometimes, they do these things for attention. After time out and a stern no, play with your child. (Not RIGHT away, or he will associate it with throwing of the toy), but his throwing might be a way to get your attention… and time.
- Draw a target on a sheet of paper and play a game. “Do you want to throw? Tell Mommy “THROW” and I will help you!”
- If the child is throwing something with the purpose to hurt you, say “Ouch” and let him know that his behavior hurt you. Let them see how it hurt you with visual cues, like a sad face.
- Take the toy and put it “up” but in plain view. “You can not have it because you hurt me.” After time has passed, you could try again, by giving him the toy. Do not act like it is a game, but instead, have empathy for him. Be understanding that he is sad and be sad for him, too.
- If he throws toys, take the toys and demonstrate what they SHOULD be used for… blocks are for building, not throwing. Can we build something?
- Get throwing toys and put them in a basket. Soft balls, bean bags, pom poms… this is your throwing bag.
This age is a hard one. It is full of learning and uncertainty. Your child is learning from you, every day, so be the best example and be consistent. Consistency is key to quick learning and good behavior. You can continue this conversation with us on our Facebook Page, where we talk about parenting topics like this one on a daily basis.