What can I do?
Understand why - hint - they are not being naughty!
Throwing is a complex skill for a child to learn - first gripping an object, aiming and letting it go at the right time. And depending on what the object is and what it hits – they’ll get a different reaction. So it’s not surprising that once toddlers get the hang of throwing, they’ll want to practice - by throwing anything - and at anyone! They need your help to learn where and when throwing is acceptable.
Encourage games where they can safely practice their throwing.
There will be less frustration all round if you can set up fun games where they can practice their throwing, especially if you play with them – throwing balls or rakau (using rolled up newspapers) to each other. Scrunched newspaper or sock ‘balls’ can be a safe option for indoors – make a target like the empty washing basket
Remind them what they can throw, where and when.
Calmly reinforce what they can throw, where and when – “eg you can throw those stones into the pond when we get to the park– but not at your brother. Let’s take those sticks outside - that’s where they belong – see if you can hit that bush over there! Balloons can be a safe indoor option - not quite throwing but you can bat them with plenty of energy, especially if you’ve been cooped up inside .
Limit food throwing frustrations.
Throwing food is great fun for young kids - especially when they get a reaction from you. Keep it to a minimum by:
- Sitting with them while they eat so you can step in quickly.
- Giving them small amounts of food at a time and waiting until they’ve finished.
- Keeping calm when it happens and reminding them that food belongs in their mouths.
If it keeps happening, they’re bored not hungry – take the food away and clean up.
And what about you?
Over it? Use your phone timer to set a time limit for a play activity – your full attention for five minutes is better than half pai for longer.
Had enough? You may feel like you need alcohol or drugs to relax – but they often make the situation worse, especially when you have to deal with kids. Who could help you cut down or cut it out?