When your toddler finally learns how to throw, that is a cause for celebration. Well, maybe you’re past that stage already and are slowly realizing the challenges that this milestone brings, which brings you here to know what to do when toddler throws toys.
A New Way of Seeing It
While throwing mishaps started by your toddler can send you running for cover or even throw a tantrum yourself, it’s important to see the behavior in a different light. This way you stop reacting and start responding.
The little one is trying to communicate something. Whether it’s boredom, anger, or asking some play time, a toddler may be throwing stuff to communicate something he or she cannot put into words yet. Remember how your baby used to cry when he or she felt hungry, sleepy, wet, sick, etc.? It’s somewhat the same with toddlers since their language faculty is not yet fully developed.
Once you’ve taught your toddler better ways to communicate, he or she will be using less this newfound skill in situations it’s not called for.
It’s an opportunity to learn for your toddler. If all you tell your kid is ‘no’ and if he or she is the docile type, you are discouraging the child’s natural inclination to explore and are inadvertently teaching him or her to be fearful. Of course, it’s important to ingrain in him or her as well the importance of being kind and respectful.
Instead of seeing this as a troublesome phase, see this time as a stepping stone for your child to advance to new levels of understanding as well. Consider it as a time to slowly inculcate concepts of boundaries and consequence. Thus, you can teach him or her which things are okay to throw or not and what behaviors are acceptable and which are not.
It’s an opportunity for you to learn consistency early on and be confident as a parent. You, as a mother or father, are also growing with your toddler. Consider this time as a chance to better yourself as a parent. This can be a time to learn the importance of consistency, which is essential in developing a loving and respectful relationship.
Tips on What to Do When Toddler Throws Toys
Tip #1: Set Limits. Show your toddler what things are okay to throw and which ones are not. Crayons and toy cars, for example, are no-nos while balls are okay.
Another thing you can do is to put this newfound skill to good use by teaching the little person some responsibilities. Go around the house with him or her and make an inventory of things that he or she can throw. If you see laundry, tell him or her that those can be tossed in the hamper. If you see toys lying around, teach him or her to pick them up and put them carefully in his or her toy chest.
Tip #2: Give choices. After communicating with kids which things are safe to hurl, you can also show them the intended use of the stuff they like to throw which aren’t safe. For example, if a child throws crayons, you can show him or her instead what a crayon is for in short and simple sentences. If he or she continues to fling crayons, you can remove the crayons as a consequence. A change of behavior is the only way to get back the crayons.
Tip #3: Teach him or her healthy ways to express himself or herself. If your little tot hurls things out of anger or frustration, teach him or her a healthy way of dealing with the emotion. First, validate and seek to understand where the anger is coming from. This trains him or her to process his or her emotions. Then, tell him or her that it’s okay to be angry for a time.
After you’ve worked through the emotions, tell your little one that it’s better to express himself or herself clearly than throw things at people, which is not an acceptable behavior. He or she can also use a different physical way to vent anger such as pummelling pillows.
Tip #4: Don’t give in. Getting angry or crying can be your child’s way of having you reverse your decision to discipline him or her. If he or she is facing a consequence for hitting someone or throwing things he or she shouldn’t just allow your little tot to let off some steam as long as he or she isn’t being destructive.
Most importantly, don’t make a U-turn on your decision. If you’ve decided to move him or her out of the playpen for hitting a playmate, make it clear that only by being not hurtful will he or she earn the privilege of playing in the playpen. Exercise firmness though with gentleness. Punishment and discipline are borne of different spirits and send different messages.
Tip #5: Ignore bad behavior. Sometimes your toddler may be throwing things to get your attention. To discourage the behavior, ignore it—unless the object flung can hurt you or someone. If you respond, he or she will think throwing things is an effective way to call attention.
You can also teach him or her the proper way of inviting someone for playtime or having others notice him or her.
Tip #6: Go to Your Toddler Last. If someone has unfortunately been hit or hurt, attend to that child first. This will teach your child compassion and that hurtful behavior will not merit your attention.
Tip #7: Get creative and resourceful. When your child is in the stroller with his or her toy, you can attach it to the baby buggy with a short string. This way he or she can learn to fish the toy out by himself or herself. Do make sure that the string is short enough that it won’t accidentally go around his neck.
Tip #8: Serve small food portions. Mealtime is particularly messy with a toddler who has learned to throw things. And definitely, food belongs to the no-throwing list. Sit beside your child while he or she eats so that you can monitor him or her and give a firm yet gentle reminder not to play with food.
Another thing you can do is to serve food in small portions. This is especially applicable when your little one starts playing with food when he or she is already full and has grown bored.
All in all, you have to be realistic about your expectations with a kid who’s still learning to understand how things work. Let a few slips slip. Don’t let it steal your calm. There’s a learning curve for everything. Soon enough you’ll also master what to do when toddler throws toys and be ready for a different challenge.