toddler aggression

9 Tips to Deal With Toddler Aggression: Prevention and How-To Guide

Last Updated on September 8, 2021.

Toddler aggression can be a scary thing, especially for parents who don’t know what to do. Luckily, toddler aggression is preventable and there are many tips on how to deal with aggressive toddler behavior. This post will go over the basics of toddler violence, prevention methods, and nine ways to handle toddler aggression when it occurs.

What causes toddler aggression?

There are many factors that can affect toddler aggression, but usually, an aggressive toddler is just trying to gain control of a situation. Toddler anger will escalate when they’re feeling frustrated or powerless. They may also be acting out in order to get attention from parents who are distracted or not spending enough time with them.

It’s helpful to remember that a toddler’s primary goal is to feel a sense of belonging and significance. In other words, they want attention and power. And if their needs for attention and power are not met, they might act out.

RELATED: How to handle two toddlers fighting

How to Prevent Toddler Aggression

It’s important to try to prevent toddler aggression as much as you can. Here are a few strategies to prevent toddler aggression in the first place.

Make sure their basic human needs are met.

Toddler needs to eat healthy food and sleep well at night. Toddlers are not capable of communicating in the same way as adults so they can’t simply tell you what’s bothering them or how they’re feeling. Be sure to watch for signs that your toddler is tired or hungry.

Give them attention daily.

Toddlers need attention from their parents to feel a sense of belonging and significance. That means spending time with them every day, reading books or playing games together, talking about their day at school, and listening without interrupting.

Allow them to make choices.

Toddlers need to feel as if they’re in control. It’s important that parents offer toddlers choices whenever possible, even when it comes to things like what they wear or whether or not to eat vegetables. And give them a voice- let them tell you their thoughts and feelings on specific topics so they know their opinion matters too!

RELATED: How to help toddler transitions

Get them moving.

Toddlers need to move. If they’re not getting enough physical activity, aggressive behavior may start to occur because of their pent-up energy and frustration over a lack of independence. Make sure your toddler has plenty of chances for movement – try taking them on walks in the neighborhood or playing with outdoor toys like bicycles or swing sets.

Make sure they have plenty of outdoor time.

When your toddler is outdoors, they will be more likely to use their energy in a positive way. This means less toddler aggression and better behavior! Playtime outside can also help foster independence because toddlers are actively exploring the environment as opposed to being confined indoors all day long.

Limit screen time.

Screen time has been shown to increase toddler aggression. When toddlers are watching TV or using a touchscreen, they’re not getting the attention and power they need from others – so their toddler anger can spike. Use an app like Bark to monitor and limit your kid’s screen time.

toddler aggression
toddler aggression

9 Tips to Deal with Toddler Aggression

If you’re experiencing toddler aggression, you might not what to do at the moment. Luckily, there are a number of things you can try to tame your toddler’s aggression during an outburst.

Take them outside or put them in water.

If toddler aggression is caused by pent-up energy or frustration, one of the best things you can do for them at that moment is to let them run around outside and release their energy. Another option would be to take your toddler into a bathtub full of water – they’ll feel calmer almost immediately!

Redirect them to another fun activity.

If you think your toddler is getting angry due to a lack of attention or power, try giving them an activity that will make them feel happy and calmer. You could choose something like reading together, drawing with markers on paper, playing with their favorite toys in the room.

Feed them.

If toddler aggression is due to hunger or tiredness, try giving them a snack. If they’re hungry, you can feed them healthy food like fruit which contains natural sugars that help with blood sugar levels and makes people feel better right away.

Talk softly.

Talking to a toddler with a soft voice is soothing and calming. If you’re trying to get your toddler’s attention or make them feel calmer, try talking softly! It’s a very effective tool to use when they start to escalate.

Ask them to make a choice.

If toddler aggression is caused by feeling obligated or powerless, try asking your toddler to make a choice and see how they respond. For example, you could ask them if they want juice instead of milk for breakfast.

Turn on music.

If toddler aggression is due to sensory overload, try turning on some calming music. This can make your toddler a lot calmer and prevent the outburst that’s about to happen! It might also help them feel happy or relaxed if they’re feeling frustrated for another reason.

Practice a simple breathing strategy with them.

If toddler aggression is caused by feeling overwhelmed or stressed, try practicing some breathing strategies with your toddler. Take a deep breath together and then exhale slowly – this will help calm them down quickly!

Hug them.

If toddler aggression is caused by feeling lonely, try hugging your toddler. You could tell them that you love and care for them – even if they’re not saying it back to you at the moment!

Just wait (nearby).

Give them a little space and wait nearby for them to calm down enough to be reasoned with. Sometimes kids just need to get through the big feelings on their own and then they’ll be more cooperative.

The Bottom Line

Toddler aggression is a common problem that parents of toddlers face. It can be caused by many things, like pent-up energy or frustration, lack of attention and power, hunger, or tiredness. There are ways to prevent toddler aggression from happening as well as how to deal with it when it happens – try taking them outside for some playtime or to the bathtub, reading together, feeding them – and so much more!

What You Should Do Next…

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