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The hitting, the kicking, the screaming, the screeching.

Your toddler's brain is still under construction 🧠🚧🏗️ Especially the areas that help with emotional regulation, rational thinking, impulse control (hello hitting 👋🏼) and language. So:

1️⃣ We can't expect them to express and manage their emotions like an adult.
2️⃣ We have the power to TEACH them - over time, with patience and constant repetition - new ways to express and manage emotions.

How do we respond to a physical display like hitting, kicking or biting?

Here’s a solid game plan, and one that shows your toddler that it is NOT okay to hit, while also supporting their emotional growth:

1️⃣ “You're feeling mad right now”⁠
2️⃣ "It's okay to feel mad"⁠
✨OK the Feeling✨⁠
3️⃣ "It's not okay to hurt someone"⁠
4️⃣ "I'm going to hold your hands now to keep you/me safe"⁠
- OR⁠ -⁠
"I'm going to move baby sister/myself now to keep her/me safe"⁠

What if my 15-month-old is hitting and just thinks it's funny? What if my 4-year-old is hitting his sister HARD, on purpose? 🧐⁠

Same calm script, all hitting scenarios.⁠🤯 ⁠

Why? When you meet physical displays with a big "NO!!!! GET IN YOUR ROOM" or any other type of BIG reaction, we're actually accidentally giving attention to the undesired behavior. It sounds crazy, but your toddler brain craves attention THAT much, that yes, he will unknowingly repeat bad behavior, just to get that dose of attention.🤯⁠

✨Later, in a calm, unrelated moment, TEACH✨
"Earlier, I could see you were really mad. It's okay to be mad, it's not okay to hit someone. What could we do instead of hit? Ohhhh yes, tell her you were still playing with that toy! Use your angry chalk, yes!”

So stay cool, stay calm, stay consistent. You got this. 💯

This post was brought to you by @biglittlefeelings. More than a toy designer, be mindful is a community of parents who are going through the process of building the best denizens of next generation.  As such we encourage and delight in our community participating in our blog and social media efforts.  Your voice will be heard across our community and who knows which kid or which parent your wisdom will enlighten!  Feel free to email us at or submit an inquiry on our site if you have a blog post idea you want to share!

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