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I am getting a little concerned, my dd is 13 months and is in a hitting phase.....for EVERYTHING! In play, in anger, to say get away, at me, others, friends, the dog.....and my biggest concern is that her baby brother will be here any day, and I know she is going to have problems then! (plus I don't want her decking him as soon as he comes home from the hospital!)
I have tried holding her hands, talking to her, saying, Baby that hurts mommy, or whoever she hit...baby that is not nice, let's use gentle hands....redirecting her- esp. if she is angry, pointing her towards appropriate toys (she has a hammer boat that I get out when she is angry/frustrated and that seems to work in those situations), I have tried playing pattycake with her as a method to redirect....nothing is working......any suggestions? Other than the hitting, she is always a very sweet, eager to please baby! All I usually have to do is call her name and ask if she is making a wise decision, and she will stop, and correct herself.....just not with the hitting!
 

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Babies of this age are exploring the large motor movement and control of their body through pounding, hitting and swinging. Providing outlets for exploring this skill which doesn't include other people's body parts will allow it to pass in time. For instance, pounding toys, hammering toys, tossing balls outside or swinging balloons at a target help. Being aware that this phase requires gentle awareness and redirection is all that is necessary. It lasts about 2 months.


And the hitting repeats at about age 2.5 and again at about age 5, for different reasons. At 2.5, they are exploring other's reactions and their autonomy. And at 5, they are exploring their autonomy and emotional self-restraint. At least this has been our experience.

Pat
 

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DD (17 months) started hiting about a month ago. It took me completely by surprise since she's never been hit or seen anyone hit. I just show her what "Gentle Hands" look like, (soft stroking) and when she hits I say "Abby, use gentle hands with ___. Hitting hurts. Show me your gentle hands." Sometimes it's just "Gentle hands Abby" but I try to explain it for her. Being patient, consistent, and knnowing it's not malicious has helped.
 

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Yes, providing as little "reaction" as possible avoids adding one more thing to explore at this time. They understand that the hitting causes a reaction, but they LIKEthe excitement.
By not making the hitting an issue, as it really doesn't mean the child will be hitting their friends and spouse later, it is just a physical sensory experience that they are exploring. The concept of "hurts" is only understood from their egocentric pov and "that hurts my body" is more accurate and more informative, imo. Somewhere along the line, I realized "that hurts" is NOT true from the child's pov. I agree with providing alternatives of *what to do* with their hands and in a sing-songy way you can make the gentle stroking an engaged activity where you are directing their hands gently in a gentle touch way.

Pat
 
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