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Turning the Tide – New Effective Ways to Reduce Child Aggressive Behaviour

Don’t we all agree that raising a child can be an incredibly fulfilling experience? But it also comes with its fair share of challenges. One of the most common difficulties parents face is dealing with aggressive behaviour in toddlers. Imagine this: You’re at a park, and your little one suddenly takes a toy from another child, causing a commotion. The expressions on the faces of other parents clearly show how distressing aggression in children can be. It leaves parents searching for effective ways to control and prevent such behaviour. How to calm a toddler is a tough question to answer! Wondering how to control aggressive behaviour? Set your worries aside. In this blog, we will explore new and creative approaches to reducing aggressive behaviour in toddlers, providing you with useful insights and practical tips to calm your little ones.

Table of Contents

1. Decoding Toddlers’ Aggressive Behaviour

2. 4 Potential Causes of Child Aggressive Behaviour

3. 4 Effective Ways to Handle Aggressive Behaviour in Toddlers

4. 8 Tips to Reduce Child Aggressive Behaviour

5. Conclusion

Decoding Toddlers’ Aggressive Behaviour

Toddlers’ aggressive behaviour is a typical stage of development as they figure out how to control their emotions and connect with others. However, it’s critical for parents to recognise the differences between normal toddler behaviour and situations that call for intervention. A toddler might occasionally grasp a toy out of enthusiasm or annoyance, for instance. To promote a safe and peaceful atmosphere for the child and their family, it’s crucial to address this behaviour right away if they strike, bite, or scream frequently. 

5 Potential Causes of Child Aggressive Behaviour

Child aggressive behaviour could be evident due to various causes. During aggression, kids may lose self-control and become impulsive. On the other hand, they could also get irritable which causes them to lash out. Nevertheless, it is crucial to identify the causes of child aggressive behaviour to find effective coping mechanisms or treatment to resolve it. 

1. Current Psychological Conditions

Children who have cognitive problems, communication impairments, autism or psychosis could also show signs of aggression. This means that when the kids with such conditions become aggressive they are unable to express their emotions as other kids. Further, they could be facing anxiety or frustration that make them angry. The aggression may also be a form of impulsivity. 

2. Impulsivity 

Children with disruptive behaviour disorders such as ADHD are impulsive and have weak decision-making abilities that are interpreted as aggressive. Further, these kids fail to observe consequences of their actions and their impulsive responses may appear to be aggressive. 

3. Conduct Disorder 

Conduct disorder includes behavioural and emotional responses of children that align with disregard for others. Further, children with conduct disorder cannot comprehend rules and are social rebels. Their behaviour can be aggressive at times. 

4. Injury 

If a child has had organic injuries, for instance, where the frontal lobe has been damaged or due to epilepsy, aggressive outbursts are evident. In such situations, there is no valid reason for aggressive episodes. 

5. Trauma and Aggressive Home Environment 

Most kids have not been taught healthy ways to cope. Some children could be physically, emotionally, or sexually abused. These conditions cause emotional turmoil in children. Moreover, the adults in the home environment may model aggressive harmful behaviours, and  children follow their caregivers and do not learn healthy coping mechanisms. Therefore, most aggressive kids do not have healthy emotional environments and are left without “socially positive” tools.

4 Effective Ways to Handle Aggressive Behaviour in Toddlers

Did you know that there are solutions at your fingertips to resolve child aggressive behaviour?

1. Encourage Effective Communication

Toddlers often resort to aggression when they struggle to express their needs or frustrations. Foster healthy communication by encouraging your child to use words instead of resorting to physical or verbal aggression. For example, when your toddler takes a toy from another child, calmly intervene and encourage them to ask for a turn or express their feelings using words like “Can I have a turn, please?” or “I feel sad because I want to play too.”

2. Model Positive Behaviour

Children learn by observing and imitating their caregivers. Make sure you demonstrate empathy, patience, and non-aggressive ways to resolve conflicts. When faced with a challenging situation, describe your actions and emotions to your child. Modelling positive behaviour is one of the key ways to reduce child aggressive behaviour.

3. Establish Clear Boundaries

Clearly define and consistently reinforce boundaries for acceptable behaviour. Be firm but fair, and use discipline techniques appropriate for their age, such as timeouts or loss of privileges, to teach your child about the consequences of their actions. For example, if your toddler hits another child, calmly explain that hitting hurts and is not allowed. Then, redirect their attention to a different activity or offer them an alternative way to express themselves, such as squeezing a stress ball or using a pillow to hit. 

4. Encourage Social Skills

Encouraging your toddler to engage in positive social interactions with other children can help reduce aggressive behaviour. Arrange playdates or enrol them in supervised group activities where they can learn to share, take turns, and resolve conflicts in a constructive manner. Provide opportunities for cooperative play and praise your child when they engage in gentle and sharing behaviours.

“By teaching children healthy coping strategies, parents and caregivers can help them develop important skills for managing their emotions throughout their lives.”

–   Akanksha Agnihotri, writer at Hindustan Times

8 Tips to Reduce Child Aggressive Behaviour

Do you ask yourself the question on ‘how to reduce child aggressive behaviour?’

1. Mindfulness and Deep Breathing

Introduce simple breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques to help your child calm down when they feel overwhelmed or frustrated. Teach them to take deep breaths, counting to four while inhaling and exhaling slowly. This technique can effectively reduce anxiety and restore emotional balance. For example, during a tantrum, you can say, “Let’s take deep breaths together to help us calm down. Inhale slowly, and then exhale slowly.” 

2. Sensory Play and Redirection

Toddlers often respond well to sensory stimulation. Engage them in sensory play activities like playing with kinetic sand, finger painting, or exploring different textures. Redirecting their focus to sensory experiences can divert their attention from aggressive behavioural impulses and promote relaxation. If your child starts to display signs of aggression, gently guide them towards a sensory activity that they enjoy, such as playing with a squishy toy or engaging in a calming water play session.

3. Music and Movement

Music has a powerful impact on emotions. Use calming melodies or lullabies to create a soothing environment for your toddler. Engage them in rhythmic activities like dancing or swaying to the music, which can help regulate their emotions and dissipate aggression. For instance, when you notice your child becoming agitated, you can play their favourite calming song and encourage them to dance or sway along to the rhythm. 

4. Create a Calm-down Corner

Designate a special area in your home as a calm-down corner. Fill it with soft cushions, books, and calming toys. When your child becomes agitated or disturbed, lead them to this special area so they may learn to self-regulate and find solace in a serene setting. Tell your child that this is a unique location where they can go to unwind and regain emotional control when they require some quiet time. 

5. Positive Reinforcement

Rewarding positive behaviour can be a powerful tool in shaping your toddler’s behaviour. Offer praise, stickers, or small rewards when your child shows self-control or resolves conflicts peacefully. This positive reinforcement encourages them to continue making positive choices. For example, when your child shares a toy or plays nicely with others, express your appreciation and give them verbal praise like, “You did a fantastic job sharing with your friend! I’m proud of you.” 

6. Avoid threats and Teach Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Do not threaten your child with phrases such as “Stop it or else”. This will cause them to be more aggressive or shut down their emotions in front of you. Instead guide them with healthy coping mechanisms such as communication, empathy, conflict resolution, and deep breathing. Other coping mechanisms could include art and journaling. 

7. Control your own temper

Children follow their parents and grasp their behaviours like a sponge absorbing water. Therefore, as parents it is crucial to teach them appropriate behaviour by being aware of your own temper. If you communicate your feelings of anger in suitable ways, your child could probably follow your example. 

8. Stay strong

Dealing with aggressive behaviour of your children can be tough. However, it is crucial to stay strong and discipline your child. Avoid feeling guilty and do not apologise for guiding them to better ways to cope with their feelings. This is because, if your child senses your mixed feelings, it gives them a wrong meaning that they were right in being aggressive and continue their behaviour.   

Conclusion

Aggressive kids can be a handful! Aggression in children must be handled with kindness, empathy, and a readiness to try new things. By implementing these innovative strategies, such as encouraging effective communication, establishing clear boundaries, and introducing sensory play, you can promote healthy emotional development, enhance communication skills, and foster self-regulation in your child. 

Stay consistent, provide a nurturing environment, and seek professional help if needed. By addressing aggression in toddlers proactively, we can guide them toward a future where empathy, kindness, and emotional well-being flourish, paving the way for healthy relationships and a positive outlook on life. Together, let’s empower our toddlers to grow into compassionate and well-rounded individuals. 

We hope you found the blog useful. We hope you have the answer to the questions we asked in the beginning – “How to calm a toddler?” and “How to control aggressive behaviour” For many such interesting and insightful blogs on parenting and child development, visit our blogs section. If you wish to know more about us and our specially crafted curriculum, do visit the EuroKids centre nearest to your house.

References

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/6-ways-to-deal-with-your-childs-aggressive-behavior

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/Pages/Aggressive-Behavior.aspx

https://childmind.org/article/aggression-in-children-causes

For informative and accurate articles on all things related to your new born-toddler’s development, growth, health and nutrition, follow EuroKids Blogs and do check out our nationally recognized preschools – EuroKids for the first step in your kid’s educational journey!

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