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How Can I Manage A 2Yr Old Hitting And Kicking


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I am a childminder and look after, among others, a little boy who is 2yrs 3months.

 

Over the past few months he has been hitting the other children in my care - he doesnt hit any other children at play sessions etc. During the past couple of weeks though, it has been getting much worse and has now escalated to kicking and trying to stand on others if they are on the floor. The hitting can be almost constant. In the past 2hours he has hit around 100 times - no exaggeration. He also hits his parents at home and hits with cars etc in his hands.

 

I took the children out in the car yesterday and he spent the whole journey hitting another child. This is obviously a problem as I cannot deal with this and focus on driving at the same time. We were due to go out today but its too dangerous to drive with him behaving like this in the car.

 

I am absolutely at my wits end with this. Its making myself and the other children miserable. He attends full time so there is no break from it. I know that this is a normal stage of development but not to this degree.

 

Any help or advice would be much appreciated.

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Guest mukerjee1

Hi,

 

Didn't want to read and run.

 

Sounds like a tough call. Can you let us know what you have tried to date, and what his parents reaction is when they are hit at home?

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Are you sure that there is nothing else behind it? We had a child with quite a severe special need who used to hit everyone all the time but he just did not have any better way to communicate.

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Are you sure that there is nothing else behind it? We had a child with quite a severe special need who used to hit everyone all the time but he just did not have any better way to communicate.

 

It is quoted that all behaviour is communication!! Agree with Melba that there could well be a special need here. Also agree that you need to find out the parents way of dealing with the hitting?? Try keeping very close and everytime he hits out, calmly but firmly sign and say 'stop' ! This needs to be done over and over just as the action is taking place.......very hard work and time consuming....but may heed results ( watch for flying fists your way :) ! unfortunately this action does need all your attention and time, not easy to do if you have others to care and play with. Perhaps set a carpet time where you are all playing together and you can easily and quickly intervene. Very difficult to deal with as too young to respond to many strategies. Is he talking and playing at normal development level - when hes not bashing everyone ?!

If behaviour continues you may have to suggest outside agency support. Gosh its hard work isnt it !!

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Have had similar in preschool - not quite so frequently but still a fair amount - obviously will be a different situation in childminding setting but we initially tried distraction, then a firm "no hitting" the first time and warning if child hits again they cannot continue their activity...lots of very close adult attention, ensuring child has something stimulating to do / move on to....had varying sucess - then our absolute last resort (not with hitting but with another behaviour that was also excessive as you describe going on 100 times a session) because Im not a fan of 'time out' as such, was removal with adult to another area of the room where there are no toys / distractions and adult withdraws all eye contact / communciation for a very short period (using a timer) every time it happened....that did at least reduce the frequency to a more 'acceptable' level so we could then go back to normal strategies again..

 

Id definitely agree its probably a communication issue....I imagine the other children dont want to respond to childs efforts now anyway and so possibly why it still continues / increases - this is what we found happened in our setting.

What reactions does he get when he does this to children / adults? This can 'fuel' it too.

How do the other parents react to their children being 'hit' several times a session?

 

Should think he needs lots of modelling about how to ask for things / express self in other ways - signing, symbol cards, objects of reference.....and lots of active play...including opportunities to hit / throw which do not hurt others - balls, bats, hammering, drumming, bean bags, targets.

 

Can you identify what is different about the 'play sessions' he attends when he doesnt hit?

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Nasty situation - just want to make supportive noises. Trecker and Rafa have it well covered. Lots of positive, timely attention.

 

That said, could it be that hitting has been the most effective way he has found to get attention? Can you find time to do things 'especially for him'?. The other children might be so relieved to be able to play without being hit that they might get on without you for a bit.

 

It's so difficult to work out what's actually happening when we're so busy 'fighting fires'. Can you try to video what's going on when you've got your back turned? Does he look angry when he does it? Is he looking over his shoulder to check your reactions? Is it nearer meal-times or going-out times that he kicks off?

 

Sorry so many questions. Not so helpful. Will be thinking of you,

 

Honey

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Thank you everyone for replying.

 

I think communication may have something to do with it. When he first came to me he was 15months and didnt make any sounds apart from laughing and crying. He didnt wave or clap hands until he was around 20 months which I think is worrying. I referred him to speech and language therapy but although he has to go for appts every few weeks, the therapist doesnt seem overly concerned with his progress. He also had his 2yr check which showed his speech was how it should be for a 2yr old and he was advanced in other areas of development. Its difficult to challenge their opinions as they are experts in this field. On more than one occasion though people, including a sure start worker, have said, ' theres something not quite right with him'.

 

I will ask mum to speak to the speech therapist about his hitting at his next appt.

 

When he hits at home they tell him no firmly and if he does it again they walk away. The other children in my care shout me or get upset when he hits them. This obviously gets a reaction for him. Ive tried getting them to ignore it but its not always easy when it hurts them - he can hit quite hard for a 2yr old. I also dont want them to think he is 'getting away with it'.

 

He only seems to hit children/adults he is familiar with. Just recently he has started to act nervously if another child he doesnt know comes near. This hasnt been a problem before. There isnt really anything different about the play sessions we attend apart from the children.

 

He responds well to sing and sign and action song sessions.

 

Thank you for your help. Its helpful just to talk about it. I am starting to think there maybe other issues beyond his speech though.

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Nasty situation - just want to make supportive noises. Trecker and Rafa have it well covered. Lots of positive, timely attention. That said, could it be that hitting has been the most effective way he has found to get attention? Can you find time to do things 'especially for him'?. The other children might be so relieved to be able to play without being hit that they might get on without you for a bit. It's so difficult to work out what's actually happening when we're so busy 'fighting fires'. Can you try to video what's going on when you've got your back turned? Does he look angry when he does it? Is he looking over his shoulder to check your reactions? Is it nearer meal-times or going-out times that he kicks off? Sorry so many questions. Not so helpful. Will be thinking of you, Honey

 

I cant pinpoint any 'triggers' for it. It seems to be if hes awake he will hit out. There isnt any specific time of day or activity, it starts as soon as he arrives. He sometimes smiles and sometimes is angry. When he hits though he will sometimes look at me knowing that what he has done is unacceptable. This doesnt stop him doing it again a few seconds later.

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No other advice to what's been said already. Poor you - I do sympathise. Hope you get some joy from the SALT. Do you have an area SENCO to get advice from. Ours will come and observe and are usually very helpful. Not sure if childminders have access to this service? I hope so.

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It sounds as though you have concerns you don't want to name for fear of labelling this little boy. What a lucky child he is to have someone so caring looking out for him. Sounds as though his parents are on the ball too. Have they told speech therapist about this behaviour? Could it be that s/he don't have the full story? Obviously there's some concern there or there wouldn't be on-going appointments. Do you think you're being kept fully in the loop? Might parents be a bit defensive if they feel there are major challenges on the horizon? They might already be quite defensive having to deal with daily reports of behaviour issues. More questions, Following with interest.

 

Honey

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I spoke to mum this morning when she dropped him off. She said that their speech therapist has gone on maternity leave and that they were supposed to be sending an appointment out, which has not happened.

 

I suggested to her that the hitting and the speech difficulties could be linked and that we should see if we can get an appointment soon. She is going to contact them this morning and explain the situation.

 

I think I might suggest accompanying them to the appointment as I think they may be telling the speech therapist what she wants to hear rather than what is actually happening. From the feed back I recieve from mum and dad, I think they only tell me the 'good bits' also.

 

thanks again everyone for your help and support. I will keep you posted.

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Previously when faced with this type of behaviour I have created and completed a behaviour diary for a short period (e.g. 2weeks). This is completed both by myself and parents logging the following:

 

Day/time/where/who/what was happening before/how i dealt with it/other

 

This helped me spot any patterns, plus also helped with consistency at home so that the parents were encouraged to think about how they responded. Plus I found out what happened at home too.

 

It was a bit of a bind to complete and I would make voice memos in my phone when out & about if it occured to make sure i didn't forget anything when writing it up.

 

I guess something like this would also be helpful to take as evidence to a professional

 

Hope it gets better x

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just to update....

 

The incidents of hitting seem to have decreased. This is partly due to the child not hitting and diverting him away when necessary.

 

Another thing ive noticed recently is he becomes very distressed if I undress him (if his clothes become soiled or wet and need changing) or if he wears dressing up clothes. He seems to like the idea of dressing up but doesnt like the clothes on him.

 

Has anyone else come across this?

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