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Toddler Aggression


Toddler Aggression

Dr. Heather Zimmerman, Boys Town Pediatrics

A big part of being a toddler is learning to assert some independence and kind of find out what you can get away with and test the limits to find out what are the limits.  It's not uncommon that toddlers are going to have some aggressive behaviors whether it is biting or kicking or hitting.  Part of why they do this might also have to do with they know what they want or how they want to do something but they don't yet have the expressive language to communicate that to you, so they get frustrated or you are doing something that they want to do themselves, they might be quick to reach up and swat at you.  The second a bite or a kick or a hit happens regardless of where you are, the most important thing is to get right down to eye level and say no whatever it was, in your stern parent voice.  So right away, no bite and then immediately they need a negative consequence which is you know, usually we recommend a time out when possible.  We try to do a sixty second time out for a one to two year old, and longer if they are a little bit older but using that timeout and as soon as the timeout is done, just flip them around so they are facing you again and reminding them, no biting, we do gentle touches and right back to play.

​Aggressive behavior in toddlers is a normal part of your child's development. Dr. Heather Zimmerman, pediatrician at Boys Town Pediatrics, explains what causes toddlers to show aggression and offers advice on how parents should handle the outbursts when they do occur.