Self-hitting in toddlers: Normal behavior?

Ah, toddlers. They're cute, cuddly, and oh so curious. But let's be real - they can also be a bit bonkers. One of the more baffling behaviors that parents may encounter is self-hitting in toddlers. Is it normal? Should you worry? Let's take a closer look.

Self-hitting in toddlers: Normal behavior?

What is self-hitting?

Self-hitting, also known as self-injurious behavior (SIB), refers to when an individual intentionally hurts themselves physically without any apparent external cause or provocation. In toddlers, this can include hitting their own head, face, or body with their hands; banging their head against walls or other hard surfaces; biting themselves; pulling their hair; or scratching themselves.

Why do toddlers engage in self-hitting?

There are many possible reasons why a toddler might hit themselves:

  • Exploration: Some children are simply fascinated by the sensations and sounds that occur when they hit themselves.
  • Attention-seeking: Toddlers crave attention from caregivers and may hit themselves as a way to get someone to pay attention to them.
  • Frustration: When young children become overwhelmed by emotions like anger or sadness but haven't developed full emotional regulation skills yet, they may hit themselves out of frustration.
  • Physical discomfort: If a child has an injury or illness which causes physical pain/discomfort/irritation/etc., then he/she might start hitting oneself at these spots thinking it would help reduce the pain/flinch
  • Sensory processing difficulties:some kids have difficulty processing sensory input efficiently;which could lead some frustration/self-arousal later leadingto touching one’s ears/nose/mouth which leads them indulging into such act

It should be noted that each situation is unique & not all toddlers who engage in self hittings are doing it due toebove-listed variables only.

When is self-hitting a concern?

While occasional self-hitting is fairly common among young children,when the behavior becomes persistent or can cause real harm concerns start to arouse. If toddler displays the following symptoms, Parents should see it as red flag and make some changes in their daily routine accordingly -

  • Injuring oneself severely
  • When aggression towards pets/other kids increase
  • New behaviour pattern of hitting oneself suddenly without any reason emerges
  • Loss/lack of skills this means; at first the kid learnt how to walk but after sometime he/she looks like has forgotten all those,into such case parents should be watchfulSometimes toddlers engage in self-hitting when they have difficulty expressing themselves through other channels - for example, if they are experiencing pain or discomfort. In these situations, SIB may be an indication that something else is wrong and medical advice from pediatrician should be taken immediately.

What can parents do about toddler's self-hitting?

The good news is that most cases of toddler self-hittiing will resolve on their own over time. By being vigilant.,while also providing plenty of love & attention along with making small handy tweaks even Parents who're worried about there little one's tendencies,i.e willingness to hit/tap/jab themself(ves) could support them by-

1) Distract! Distract!

When you notice your child engaging in self-injurious behavior try distracting him/her from whatever he was doing induce good laughter using tickles , jokes etc . There are many distractions techniques which parents could find online depending upon their child’s interests,lifestyle preferences.

2) Keep your cool

As difficult as it may seem when faced with this type of behavior, raising our voice /yelling/punishing actually worsens the situation.Drugs such as anti-anxiety medication are administered pathologically,but medications shouldet rid of the root causes leading to SIB

3) Regular schedules and routines must be followed strictly

try to adhere strictly to some particular routines; Doing it religiously like scheduling food naps does help toddler,I've even heard that when you do have regular sleep routine, water intake is also sorted out which could reduce dryness etc leading less inducement towards physical discomfort mentioned earlier. Even preschool teaching kids basics about different sensations they feel in body during certain emotional triggers such as anger,sadness & happiness.

4) Observe for any clues, anything new: including Medical related difficulties or change

If child’s self-injurious behavior is sudden & alarming,it would definitely make sense on examining if there underlying medical issues/changes leading up the behavioral issue. Symptom-checking with pediatricians can aid greatly,like maybe altering dosage frequency/something with its administration method(syrup/tablet/infusion).

The Bottom Line:

Self-hitting behavior in toddlers can be distressing for parents but often isn't a cause for concern. As children continue to develop their language and communication skills,SIBs ultimately encounter yet unexplained phenomena as well.Once all important factors are ensured ,peers nearby encouraged more positive play; sometimes talking/intervening helps bring things into perspective ;thereby reducing this behaviouristency or disappears entirely over time.Some day when your little one grows up,you could look back at these strange times ending up laughing reminicsedly ' My Chimpy used to shock himself by now I really miss those screechy days" SiB incidents may appear try putting yourselves in shoes (boxing gloves) trying everything possible always ensures finding the key right solution tailored just according to child temperament.

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