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3 year old hitting and nipping

(4 Posts)
needaholidaynow Fri 11-Jul-14 16:46:43

Hi everyone,
My Ds1 has suddenly developed this habit of hitting/nipping other children. He will hit his little brother when ds2 wants to play with him and won't share with him. He can also get quite a temper on him.

After nursery today, the teacher told me that he has been pinching some of the other children. I'm wondering if this is something he has picked up from nursery as he has only started doing this since he has been going there.

Is this normal behaviour for a child his age? Like a phase he is going through as he learns how to share and play alongside other children? More importantly, how can I put a stop to this?

Soila Fri 11-Jul-14 17:21:44


It's common for children to have arguments and fights but you know your child well and are able to tell if you need to be concerned or not.

Either way, you're right to want to deal with it because that's just how they learn right?

May I ask if there has been any changes in the family or his environment at all?

When exactly did the hitting/nipping start?

Sometimes it can help to find a trigger for the behaviour as then you have a starting point.

Also, when he behaves in this manner, what do you do or how do you handle it?



needaholidaynow Fri 11-Jul-14 17:45:47

Hi Solia,
No there have been no changes to his family or environment. But he did start nursery back in April, so this is now part of his routine now and he obviously spends a lot of time there. He goes every afternoon. He loves it and is always excited to go, so I don't think it is having a negative impact on his well being or anything.
The hitting/ nipping started a couple of months ago. He really struggles to share with his little brother and he will really disapprove if ds2 goes near him and the toys he is playing with. Ds2 just wants to join in and I feel so sorry for him. He gets really upset bless him.
When ds1 behaves like that, I sit him down on the couch for "quiet time" and tell him that what he has done isn't nice and to not do it again. If he does it again I repeat the process. I'm not sure if that is the right thing to do confused. This is the first time he has shown really challenging behaviour so I now have to discipline him and sometimes I worry that I'm too soft or too harsh.

Soila Fri 11-Jul-14 18:12:02

Doesn't sound like you're too harsh at all.

It is hard to share at this age that's true but it still needs to be taught.

You're probably doing this already but when you sit him on the couch for quiet time, I would probably give him a "warning" before that?

So if he hits his brother, 1) go over to him, 2) stoop down to his level, 3) get eye contact and 4) say in a very firm voice, "Sam, you are not to hit your brother again. If you don't want to share with him then tell him but do not hit him. If you hit him again you will have time out on the couch for 3 mins. Is that clear?" (3 mins = I min for each year of his life ).

Yes, he will need to apologise.

Stick to the same process as you're doing if he repeats the behaviour.

The trick is to truly carry out the consequence and stick to it.

You could share this with nursery and see if they can do the same, that way, the consequence of his behaviour is consistent both at home and school.

You could also ask school what they do and then implement their strategy at home - so vice versa.

Does that make sense?

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