my 11-month-old hits. he's done it since he was little, but mostly when he was excited and couldn't control his arms. well, now he can (control his arms) and he still hits. but it's not when he's excited anymore. when he's mad or frustrated, he smacks us. the worst is that he hits my older son (3). i put him down on the floor and tell him in a firm voice "we don't hit" and walk away. it makes him cry but it's the only thing i can think of...only it doesn't work. any suggestions?

Hitting...I remember thinking that I would need to worry about hitting from my toddler - but nope, you are right, it's the baby who is wildly hitting that seems harder to teach.

Take a step back and work on the problem from a new angle (I think the angle you are working is perfect). Here are just a few more thoughts...

Try. Talk to the three year old. You will want to make sure that no matter how many times he is hit, that he won't start hitting back (because an older child just hits harder). So, I like to think of it as suring up the foundation. Ask him, "What should we do when baby hits?" or laugh with him "Baby just hit me...I think he doesn't know how to use his arms yet. They swing so wild - its like he's a windmill (do the windmill action)." Help him laugh at the baby's actions - its so much easier to deal with things when we don't feel attacked. This way you can have a meaningful look with him, when he does get hit.

Maybe. Sometimes giving his hands something else to do - when babies are first learning that hitting motion - I like to direct it into a clap. Something you can do constructively. But, he may have passed the stage that this is helpful.

Something else. Give him a box or drum to bang on. When he feels like swinging calmly remind him that hands aren't for hitting, but for playing drums or giving hugs. Really give him a lot of attention while he is hitting the drum.

Perhaps. This is my person plan with babies. I would scoop up your three year old and without a second thought leave the room and as you walk away calmly say "We can't play with Sam when he is hitting." Sometimes the best punishment is taking yourself away.

Also. I think modeling is so helpful. If he hits and causes tears - have him look at your crying son and say, "Hitting makes John feel so sad." Then help him use his arms to be soft on your arm. "Being soft makes Mommy so happy."

There's a start, what else works for hitting?
Painting: A Chinese Baby by Mary McMullin

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