Mamas that have kids coming into toddlerhood often seem relieved for a split second. Until they realize that being a mama to a toddler is just as exhausting but in a different kind of way.
See, before, we had to be on high alert to feed that baby, change diapers, and do all those things. We earned our black belts in babies. But toddlers are a whole new breed.
Don’t stress though, ladies, for you’ve got me. Today’s topic is about what to do when your toddler is throwing toys. In particular, we’ll address what to do when your toddler is throwing things when angry further below.
Let’s dive on in…
Why do babies throw things?
When a toddler throws everything, you kind of have to laugh. Well, initially. Because this is an important skill. Will your son become a baseball legend? Perhaps. But this milestone is one to embrace.
I remember when each of my girls was of the toddler throws toys age. Much of it was purely harmless. It’s a new skill. And to that end, it’s super exciting. Cause and effect are fascinating to little ones.
Of course, if your toddler is throwing everything, including food, off the high chair or your toddler is throwing toys instead of playing with them, it’s time to set some boundaries.
In order to do that, though, you need to see what is happening when your toddler throws toys. If it’s clearly experimenting to hear the crash of a toy falling to the ground and the study of gravity, you’ll have to redirect them a bit. If your toddler throws things in a tantrum, you’ll have to address that differently.
How to stop a 2-year-old from hitting and throwing things?
Oh, did you think when your 2-year-old is throwing things, you’d simply tell them to stop? Haha, that’s adorable. Yes, I’ve been there too. First of all, that’s designed to fail.
When your 3-year-old is throwing things for fun, telling them “no” is the absolute biggest kiss of death. You can kiss any peace and quiet goodbye in your home.
Does that mean you need to deal with the constant sound of toys being launched into the wall? Does that mean you put up with it when it’s directed at you? One mama named Olivia wrote me to ask what to do because “my toddler is throwing things at me.” Hang on, Olivia! I’ve got you!
Why telling your toddler no won’t work is very simple…it makes it more enticing. Think back to when you were young. Even if you can’t remember your toddler years, you surely remember when you were bigger. “Mom, can I go to the roller rink with Janice?” “No!” It made you want to go, even more, didn’t it?
Now, this is no roller rink, though. And you can’t feasibly tell a child that is developing not to exercise this new skill. The novelty of it WILL wear off, that I assure you. So the trick is not to stop the throwing, but to teach your child when to do it and what is appropriate to throw is a better strategy.
What can you do? Here are some tips!
- Establish boundaries to a degree
Did your toddler throw everything out of his crib? You’ll want to let him know kindly that some things are acceptable for throwing (like balls, for example) and other things that aren’t nice to throw (like crayons, cups, and books).
Additionally, your toddler needs you to tell him that it’s not okay to throw things out of the crib or off the high chair. But by the same thread, you also need to show him where it’s okay to throw those things. Giving your toddler a safe place and safe objects to throw allows them to enjoy this newfound skill and practice it properly.
- Tackle angry throwing habits
Some children will throw things when they’re angry. At least all of them will try it once. Both of mine surely have. Even at this age, my youngest was upset she didn’t win a board game, so she threw some of the pieces. At that moment, I told her that she’s allowed to have her feelings but throwing things that aren’t meant to be thrown can hurt someone.
I’ve got more tips on how to handle angry tots in just a moment, so keep reading.
- Consequences must be enacted
After having a chat with your child about throwing things, once the rules have been set, stick to them. If your child throws something they know they shouldn’t or throws something in the house, take it away from them. Don’t waver either, so they know you don’t make idle threats.
At what age do toddlers stop throwing things?
Toddlers first develop the skill of throwing somewhere around 18 months and 3 years of age. When fine motor skills develop enough to this extent, it is something you should celebrate.
Of course, you don’t want this happening with your new vase or TV. One of my friends called me to tell me that her son launched one of his toys right into their brand new flat-screen that they had just mounted above their fireplace. Talk about an expensive mess!
This lesson in gravity doesn’t need to be expensive, though. Plus, you will be hard-pressed trying to stop them, as I explained before. So embrace this throwing skill and show your child what they can throw and where they can do that. This way, you avoid damages like that of a flat-screen TV.
Another idea for you is to get an age-appropriate throwing game. Beanbags that you can toss into a basket or a ring toss are super-fun games for 2 year old kids. This way, they get to throw when they do so in the right place at the right time with the proper objects.
Is it normal for toddlers to throw things when angry?
What do you do when your toddler throws things in tantrums? You might wonder, is this normal, and yes, it is. All toddlers test their limits. They have new skills and new ideas, and they just don’t think about the consequences like you or I do at this point because they haven’t yet developed that.
You and I know better than to throw a toy at a friend or sand from the sandbox. Toddlers learn with repetition, though. If your child keeps throwing blocks at you or their sibling, try to ignore it the first few times. I know that seems hard, but kids at this age are trying to get your attention and if they get it, they will keep doing this bad behavior.
Keep your reaction the same each time. So if your child almost hurts someone, you should tell them “no” and let them know “that hurts” when you do something like that. A timeout is a good idea here to take your child out of the moment. Keep it brief and talk to her when she’s calm, so she knows why it’s so dangerous to throw the wrong things.
Now that’s about testing limits.
What if your child is throwing things because she’s angry? Then it would be best if you had a conversation about expressing feelings. Remind your child to use her words to express this instead. Be patient yet unwavering when it comes to this, and your child will soon get it.
Is throwing things a sign of autism?
While autistic children sometimes show their emotions in aggressive actions, just because your child throws things in a tantrum does not mean they are autistic. The CDC explains it quite well with the early warning signs of autism. Yes, throwing things is one of them, but that’s like saying everything is a cat because cats have fur.
If you genuinely worry your child is autistic, you should have them evaluated by a medical professional. Don’t just try and guess, or worse, assume.
Final thoughts about toddlers that throw things…
You want your toddler to throw things. It’s healthy to develop this skill. Yet, you want to encourage them to throw appropriate objects in appropriate settings. Give them acceptable things to throw. Better yet, play with them.
When we play with our kids, it makes them happy, making them less likely to act out. I’m busy with work too, but I will always make sure to take some time out each day to play with my kids. They’re older than yours are now, but the rule still applies.
Should they throw things from a place of anger, show them the right way to express their emotions. Let them know their feelings are theirs, and that’s okay but throwing things isn’t.
I hope this has helped shed some light on your little thrower. Good luck!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.