How to discipline 1-year-old for hitting other people

By Dr Richard C. Woolfson   — October 01, 2018
  • 1 / 11

    Your toddler hasn’t yet got the ability to express her frustration and anger through spoken language.

    She may find it easier to release those pent-up emotions through direct physical aggression – that’s why hitting is so common at this age.

    And as you may have already discovered, the thump from a one-year-old can hurt, and her scratching can be extremely painful.

    Load more
  • 2 / 11

    In many instances, the recipient of this physical aggression is simply an innocent bystander, perhaps you or your older child, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    The problem is that your little one is egocentric – she thinks the world revolves around her. To some extent she is right, of course, because you do everything you can to stimulate and development and to keep her happy.

    Related: Peaceful parenting: What you need to know to about this approach

    Load more
  • 3 / 11

    But you know there are limits. Your toddler, however, doesn’t like these limits and she expects to get everything she want, when she wants, in the way she wants.

    If her desires are blocked in any way – perhaps because you say “no” to her, or because the toy won’t move the way she wants it to – her temper quickly builds, resulting in an explosion of rage that could easily manifest itself through hitting, slapping, poking or scratching.

    Related: How to use time-out on your toddler

    Load more
  • 4 / 11

    However, she might also hit out simply because she doesn’t realise the impact of her physical aggression – she doesn’t know how it feels to be on the receiving end.

    Whatever the underlying reason, this is something you need to discourage right from the start.

    If you don’t, you may find that her hitting becomes more frequent and more intense as she grows older, with even more devastating results.

    Here are some strategies to consider using when trying to discourage your one-year-old from aggressive behaviour.

    Load more
  • Describe the impact
    5 / 11 Describe the impact

    Always tell your toddler that hitting makes the other person feel sad and upset; you can’t assume she already knows that.

    Explain, for example, that hitting you makes you unhappy, or that slapping her big brother makes him cry.

    Related: Discipline your child: 4 mistakes to avoid

    Load more
  • Remember that she isn’t malicious
    6 / 11 Remember that she isn’t malicious

    Try to remind yourself that hitting is a sign of your toddler’s inability to control her frustration and anger – it does not mean she is naughty or that she actually intends to hurt someone.

    Related: 10 ways to discipline your 3 year old

    Load more
  • Keep your own temper in check
    7 / 11 Keep your own temper in check

    No matter how agitated you are at the sight of her hitting her older sister yet again, despite all your previous warnings, don’t lose your temper.

    You need to remain in control, in order to act firmly, quickly and rationally.

    Load more
  • Remove her from the victim
    8 / 11 Remove her from the victim

    When she does hit, quickly and firmly remove her from the other child, at the saying time repeatedly saying “no” to her.

    Stay with your one-year-old until you are confident she has settled and that she is unlikely to hit again.

    Load more
  • Be consistent
    9 / 11 Be consistent

    Make sure that you and your spouse intend to use the same strategies when dealing with the next incident.

    You should also ensure that all of her other carers do the same as well.

    Load more
  • Praise her good behaviour
    10 / 11 Praise her good behaviour

    There will be times when your tot deals with her frustration or anger without hitting others at all.

    Use these times to praise her for not showing physical aggression. This focuses her attention on how you want her to behave.

    Load more
  • Never bite or hit back
    11 / 11 Never bite or hit back

    Slapping your one-year-old in response to her aggression sets a poor example.

    She may decide that if hitting is good enough for her parents to use, then it’s good enough for her.


    Load more
how to involve child to do housework

6 reasons why your kids should help with household chores

am i pregnant signs symptoms

Am I pregnant? 10 early signs that you might be expecting a baby

Prevent pregnancy leg cramps

How to prevent leg cramps in pregnancy

best books for baby

Baby reads only the same book: Should you worry?

Dizziness during pregnancy: What you can do to feel better

Latest stories

Hort-Park-playground-best outdoor playgrounds in Singapore

Nature Playgarden at Hortpark: This free outdoor playground is fab for preschoolers

baby does not like stroller

Baby hates sitting in a stroller? Here’s what you should do


Daydreaming or epilepsy? SG mum now knows why her kid cannot pay attention

how safe is epidural for baby mum

10 things every pregnant mum should know about epidural