To stop your child hitting, firstly, have a rule and explain it to your child.
Make sure your child knows the rules in your house –and have rules that are worded positively with what you WANT your child to do.
So ‘Being angry is ok, but we keep people and property safe.’
Or: ‘When you’re angry, keep your hands to yourself and tell me how you’re feeling with words.’
Secondly, help your child find a safe way to express their anger.
Consider having an angry corner with paper and pens to do ‘angry drawings’, bubble wrap to stamp on, a pillow to punch, a mini trampoline to let off steam, or anything you think would help them express their anger.
Initially if you see them getting angry, steer them physically towards the angry corner to get rid of that angry energy.
Gradually it’s best to steer them towards saying how they’re feeling, so teach them to say:
‘I feel…When …And I’d like….’
So for example: I feel annoyed when you borrow my pen and don’t give it back. and I’d like you to return it as soon as you’ve finished with it.
Your job now is to make sure you and others are safe around your child.
Hover nearby whenever there is a chance they might hit out. Grab their arm if you need to.
If you can see an argument is brewing, go to your child and encourage them to say to the other child how they are feeling, what they want to happen, and see if they can sort things out without hitting.
Finally, ask lots of questions about what they can do instead of hitting.
If your child is due to meet up with a child where there’s been hitting in the past ask your child what they should do if there is a disagreement.
If possible do a ‘role play’ with your child, where you pretend to be the other child, and do something that could annoy them, and they practice how to respond appropriately.’
Ask them several times in the day leading up to the meeting
‘What will you do if your friend hits you?
Or calls you names?
Or takes the toy you were playing with?
Or if you feel yourself getting angry?’
Be positive and upbeat but make sure that they understand what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
So to stop your child hitting, 3 tips are:
- Have a rule and explain it to your child.
- Help them find a safe way to express their anger.
- And ask lots of questions about what they can do instead of hitting.
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