Toddlers Hitting Themselves – Why and How to Stop it?

4 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Why do toddlers hit themselves

Toddlers with impish smiles, adorable gestures and gurgles of laughter fill your lives with joy. But, it is heart-breaking indeed for parents to watch them smacking and hitting themselves. An abrupt change from toddlers being cuddlesome cuteness to tantrum throwers, seems to surprise parents. Parents become anxious and are often left wondering why and how to stop toddlers from hitting themselves?

Toddlers hitting themselves is a way of an emotional outburst to let you know they are experiencing something they are not comfortable with. Often toddlers mirror the way they are feeling inside. Let us find out why do toddlers hit themselves and how to tackle the situation when they do that.

In This Article

Is it Normal For Toddlers to Hit Their Heads a Lot?

It is absolutely normal for toddlers to hit their heads a lot. Moreover, a common behavior among toddlers is to bang their heads on the floor, walls, or furniture. Sometimes they hit their heads with their hands. Toddlers have a strong need for parental attention and are often frustrated and unable to communicate their feelings. Hence, it is totally natural to see toddlers hitting their heads a lot.

One moment toddlers are playing peek-a-boo, when all of a sudden they are hitting their heads. You need to keep in mind this is an instance when perhaps toddlers vent their anger or frustration. In other instances, toddlers are merely expressing their discomfort with something. Handling toddlers gently when they hit their heads a lot, is the key to accepting this behavior and slowly bringing it to an end.

[Read : How To Handle A Screaming Toddler?]

Why Does a Toddler Hit Themselves?

Toddlers crave physical experiences and some toddlers hit themselves repeatedly as a way of soothing themselves when they are tired. Most of the time toddlers need attention and they hit themselves to gain their parents’ undivided attention. Toddlers always expect a reaction from them.

There are toddlers who hit themselves just to imitate others. Most often toddlers experience some discomfort and try to express this. Your little ones exhibit such behavior when they are tired, upset, and alone. Toddlers are known to bang their heads at bedtime too.

Toddlers hit themselves when they are hungry, hurt, angry, or during teething. In certain instances when the weather gets to them, be it hot or cold weather, they tend to hit themselves. Toddlers hit one or both sides of their head or pull their ears.

How to Stop Your Toddler From Hitting Themselves?

How to stop toddler from hitting themselves

There is no reason to worry when toddlers hit themselves, instead you need to understand and protect your toddlers from injuring themselves. You should create a bubble of protection let your toddlers hurt themselves. You need to cover or protect the sharp edges and corners where your toddler is most likely to hit themselves. Sometimes you need to bring in Superman’s touch when you rush to save your toddler from hitting themselves on furniture and walls.

The daily pattern or routine of toddlers can be observed by you. Who else better than you to guess your toddler’s movements? For toddlers who seek attention, you can embrace or hug them gently but firmly to prevent them from hitting themselves further. You need to comfort them in a soothing voice while expressing your love. It is hard to watch toddlers hitting themselves but it is necessary to get toddlers to stop this early otherwise it will become a habit. Try to divert their attention with play things or take them outside and pacify them.

[Read : Understanding A Child’s Attention Seeking Behaviour]

When is it a Concern?

When is toddler hitting themselves a concern

Toddlers hit themselves when they are unhappy about something, and unless their needs are met, they will not stop it. Simple reasons like- the toddler may have missed a meal or just needs a diaper change can trigger this behaviour.

For a toddler, hitting themselves or banging their heads is a display of big emotions that they are unable to express. The parents need to be gentle and caring in such a scenario. Instead of losing your cool, handle them gently and with love.

However, when toddlers’ behavior interferes with their sleep routine or when they tend to cause bodily injuries like bruises and bumps, then it is a cause for concern. Also sometimes, injuring themselves becomes a repetitive behaviour with the toddlers, in such a scenario, you may need to seek professional help.


1. How Long Does the Toddler Hitting Phase Last?

Toddlers display tantrums when they are around one-year-old and outgrow it when they are around four-years-old. This behavior resolves as toddlers learn to express themselves vocally.

2. Why Does My Toddler Hit His Head With His Hand?

The toddler may vent out his emotion or comfort himself during a stressful event by hitting his head with his hand. It may be a self-soothing mechanism before or during sleep.

Read Also: Toddler Tantrums – When to Worry

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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