Expert / 1 July, 2019 / Dr Maryhan Baker

Help! My Two-Year Old Toddler Has Started Hitting!

My two year old daughter has started hitting – not particularly hard, but does so when she can’t get her own way, or is frustrated. We have been talking to her calmly, saying ‘no’ very firmly and then explaining why she shouldn’t hit us or other children. What else should we be doing to deter this behaviour? Are we bringing up a bully!? She certainly does not see any of that behaviour between myself and my husband.

Firstly, rest assured you’re not raising a bully; instead you are raising a child who is still learning about her emotions, and how to best manage them. In the moment really try to respond to the emotion behind the behaviour, rather than behaviour itself. Your child is telling you she is cross and frustrated, emotions she has every right to feel when she doesn’t get her own way. We all experience these as adults too. What you should be trying to teach her is that hitting is not a good ‘choice’ when she feels this way. Instead she could stamp her feet on the ground, draw a picture of an angry face, run off her steam outside, or take her frustration out on her pillow.

In addition if you follow these 4 simple steps you will find over time your daughter’s understanding of her own emotions, and those of others matures and she will begin to make better choices each time those big feelings surface.

  1. Label emotions both in your child and yourself

Just as we teach our children the names for things, their colours, their letters, and numbers, we should be teaching them about their emotions. So, label their emotions all the time, as well as your own, and don’t be restricted to the simpler forms of happy, sad, cross, add in frustration, irritation, jealously etc.

  1. Acknowledge your child’s emotions and avoid minimising them

We all have every right to feel the way we do in response to something which happens to us and we should be validating our children’s emotions by acknowledging them, rather than trying to minimise them. This way your child feels heard and understood. Avoid saying “don’t be sad” and instead say “I can see you feel really sad, what can we do to help you feel happy again”.


How to Help Toddlers Manage Their Emotions & Avoid Tantrums
Why You Should Invest in a Balance Bike for Your Toddler

  1. Promote ‘choices’ when it comes to behaviour

Use language of choice whenever you can. Remember your child is entitled to feel any emotion, and we acknowledge that, we then want to teach them about making good choices. So, praise them when you see them making good choices, and help them problem solve when they make poor choices.

  1. Teach them coping strategies

Help teach your child to find their own coping strategies when ‘big’ emotions overwhelm them. Hitting isn’t a good choice when you feel angry or frustrated, however stamping your feet or bouncing on the trampoline is a good choice. A health warning though, never try to have this conversation when your child is in the midst of a poor choice. Wait until they feel calm again and reflect back on what happened and which choice might have been better to make.

For more in-depth help and advice, contact Dr Maryhan via her website or join Dr Maryhan’s Raising Confident Kids Facebook group for more tips and advice on child behaviour. 

Photo credit: Bani Culshaw Photography

The How Not to Screw Up Your Kids membership is all about striving to be the best parent we can be. It’s a community of like-minded parents who are being honest about their parenting journey. It’s about practical advice to manage those day-to-day ups and downs as well as guidance on how best to tackle up and coming changes. So, you feel in control, rather than on the back foot.
How Not to Screw Up Your Kids Membership is for you if:

  • You have a child who is struggling with low confidence and / or anxiety
  • You are prepared to talk openly and honestly about the difficulties your family are facing
  • You understand there is no ‘quick fix’. You want to see lasting changes and you know this may take time.
  • You are prepared to do the work, and recognise it won’t always be easy
  • You want to be part of a community which supports each other through the highs and the lows
  • You want to feel part of a community of like-minded people
  • You are open to trying things which might push you out of your comfort zone

If you’d like to learn the practical tools and strategies that will work for your unique family set-up, whatever stage your children are at, you can use this link.


Help! My Toddler Stripped Off and Smeared Poo All Over The Bedroom!
We Had to Discuss Erections with My Two Year Old Son Last Night

For competitions and offers from our favourite brands, click here.

In The Spotlight

Discover Zara Timelesz Kids Summer Collection, Where Style Meets Comfort For The Little Ones

This season’s collection features playful prints, vibrant colours, and lightweight fabrics perfect for warm-weather adventures. From breezy dresses and shorts to trendy tops and swimwear, each piece is designed to keep kids cool and fashionable all summer long. Crafted with care and attention to detail, Zara Timelesz ensures that your child can enjoy both comfort and style. Embrace the sunny days ahead with the Zara Timelesz Kids Summer Collection, and let your kids shine in effortlessly chic outfits.



Latest posts

Recipes / 13 June, 2024

Prawn & Kale Paella

My Baba Measure / 12 June, 2024

The Measure: What’s Hot For Parents & Kids

Competitions / 12 June, 2024

WIN! A Nola Cot Bed And Mattress From CuddleCo

Nanny anita

Living / 12 June, 2024

Beauty & The Beast’s Enchanted Roses: The Last Petal Falls Craft

Education / 11 June, 2024

Helping Dyslexic Children Recognise Their Unique Thinking Skills Beyond Exams