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We have a 2 year old son. He is our first kid. Recently he started throwing things at others kids which hurts them. I have done the following things to stop that behavior but they didn’t work:

  1. Take him into the bedroom and told him it is not good and it hurts the other. He is still doing that.
  2. Whenever he does it I say “Stop. And don’t do that”. He does it more.
  3. Stopped paying the attention. He gets frustrated and throws more things.

I don’t know how to make him stop throwing things. It really hurts other kids and sometimes he throws things at us, which hurts us too.

How can we stop him throwing things?

  • Be careful with saying "Stop. And don’t do that." that is vague and could be confusing. "Don't throw on people, throw on the wall" you can even explain "Look, you made the kid cry. Don't hut other people.". – the_lotus Dec 17 '15 at 13:08
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When our daughter's "throwing stuff" period had started, we didn't tell her that she can't throw stuff. We told her that only balls are for throwing - and since we only have those small, light, air-filled plastic balls that are used in playhouses and a rubber ball and a cloth ball, she couldn't hurt anyone or destroy anything of value with those. We took everything else she tried to throw and gave her a plastic ball instead. We even did some throwing with her, picking a target and trying to hit it (with little success on her side;).

And she did throw for a week or two. And then she just stopped, deciding that it was actually not very fun. I think that the lack of permission is sometimes fueling the urge to do some stuff. Once it is allowed, even in a limited way, the pleasure and fun goes away.

  • That's what I did. Worked great. Had to watch him very closely at the beginning and stop him every time he tried to throw something else. He was younger than 2 so when ever he trowed the ball, I would say "throw" to make sure he knew what the word meant. – the_lotus Dec 17 '15 at 13:03
  • I lost the source, but I read somewhere that there is a brain developmental stage directly connected to throwing, around 2 years of age. they cannot help but want to throw things. – Ida Dec 17 '15 at 22:46
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If you think they are about to throw something then you can try to distract them, that may involve asking them a question about the thing they are holding that requires an answer or directing them towards using the toy in a way they weren't thinking about - for example "can you drive your car to the shops?" or "what colour is your car?" Or do something entirely different (tickling is excellent if your child happens to be ticklish).

If that doesn't work then if you get to them in time then remove the object, take it away from them and put it both out of reach but also somewhere visible. Remind them that the behaviour is bad.

Should they become obstinate or just start throwing things without warning then it's time to start the time-out process. If they're unlikely to hurt others this will involve a count (I normally use 3, some use 5) and then a trip to the time-out spot/chair/step if the behaviour doesn't change. If they have a near-miss, hurt others or damaged something then the lack of a count reinforces that the act they have committed is more serious.

Once you've decided to put them in timeout then they cannot negotiate their way out and should get no contact (don't even look at them if you don't have to) until the time (around 1 minute for each year of age) is finished. We jokingly say that "we do not negotiate with terrorists!".

If they leave the spot you've put them in then timeout begins again. If they persist in moving then they may need to be held in timeout until the time is up, and if so that should be done without talking to them and with minimal eye-contact. I've had my 3-year-old do 30 minutes before now... but we are the adults and our resolve will always be stronger.

Once the timeout is finished then you can explain to them why they were excluded (older children should be asked why and pressed for an answer) and that you would rather have fun than do timeouts. Make it clear that you love them but that you disapprove of the behaviour and they should say sorry to you and anyone they've upset or hurt. This is a really important part, because it is where the education happens.

At this point you get back to having fun, it's important to do this as, no matter how angry with them you may be, you have to work on toddler-time which runs much faster than adult time. Equally, they may be a repeat offender and it's important to remember that while we link the events of 30 minutes ago, they might not and it might take a few time-out trips for them to link the bad behaviour with a timeout.

For each setting there should be a consistent set of expectations that are consistently (rigidly) enforced by everyone who cares for the child and eventually you'll get good behaviour. Good enough anyway...

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