How to get a toddler to stop hitting?

My son is 3 years old now will be turning 4 next month. Since the age of 2 he was baby sat by my mom but after she needed to work so I enrolled my son in daycare. That daycare would call me every day around 11 to pick up my son because he is hitting other kids. ( no me and his dad do not fight we argue about dumb stuff but not in front of him) finally after 5 month I had enough i pulled him out of that daycare and enrolled him in this new daycare about 5 minutes from my work. I understood my son had a problem I put him in counseling and finally the state allowed me to put him in pre-k from 7:30 am to 10:00am since September 2018 but after that he goes to the new daycare till 6pm when I get out of work.

He has been at the new daycare for a year now and this week I have been getting calls to pick him up, he is hitting other kids and the teacher. His teacher is young like 25 probably but she is really nice so I dont think it’s her. I have called his teacher from school she said my son is fine there he does act up sometimes but she can redirect him and he is fine. Her class probably has 5 to 6 kids max my sons daycare has 15 to 20 kids. I don’t want to move him daycares because I trust the ladys there and well now a days u cant trust anyone with your kids.

I just dont know what to do with him I have talked to him and he knows he did wrong because once I walk in to daycare he apologizes to me and his teacher. I have taken TV time away, outside time away, I have gave him a tap on the butt, but nothing seems to work. When I ask him why he hits he says because another kid hit him and that kid won’t even be there that day. I need help. what I can do to help him and myself. I start a new job Monday and I cant be going to pick him up every day and try to find someone to watch him.


As someone who babysits, I would say that he’s doing it because he knows if he does, you will come get him.


Take him to a psychologist

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Start with a discipline plan, you, your hisband, the daycare and the teacher all must be consistent with what is and isn’t aloud and the type of punishment. Talk to the daycare about alternatives to calling someone to get him. Removing him from the situation is not teaching him anything. Maybe time out chair in the corner for an allotted time and for each consecutive disruption the time increases. See what you need to do to keep him there. Because picking him up seems to be what he wants and that’s why the behaviour continues.


Im sorry but i agree with Ashley Nichole i would tear his butt out the frame


Put him in some form of martial arts. Let’s him get the punching and kicking out of his system in an appropriate atmosphere. And teaches self control to not use physical actions outside of the gym. Did it with my oldest at 3 years old when we were getting daily calls from the school for fighting. The calls stopped, he still got to hit things, and at 10 years old now he is almost a black belt!

I feel u need to talk with the daycare provider and discuss a punishment plan for the child BEFORE they call you directly. I would have a couple of non physical punishments planed out and after all those have been used and it’s still happening then and only then can they call you. But if he knows as soon as he does something they call you then he’s never gonna stop.


maybe he really doesnt want to be there and wants to be with you he knows if he acts out then they will cal you to come and get him maybe thats why i dont kow just guessing good luck hope you find an answer to this

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For one DO NOT discipline hitting with hitting! And for another don’t take away outside time.

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Talk to him about it. Whatbhe says will show u how to deal. If he said another kid hit him, ask him which kid. Talk to him about how to deal with it properly. Tell him that hitting is not ok. He knows they will call you and you will come get him. Then he gets to go home. They arent dealing with it. Maybe have a sit down with the daycare and talk to eachother face to face. Come up with a plan. Make sure your kid knows you will be there at 6 and if he does something bad he will not get to have snuggle time. He will eat and go straight to bed. No fun evening. My little was at daycare from 6-6 amd was fine. Each kid is different. We had somw issues with hitting but we kept ontop of it. Talked to him and made sure he understood. If he didnt listen he got in shit…not a sweet talking to. It did not last long.

Thanks for sharing, a lot of these comments are very helpful too. My 4 year old has done the same thing since he started preK in Aug. We just took him out a few weeks ago and he is back with the babysitter that’s watched him since he was an infant. So frustrating and heart breaking but I don’t have the option to not work all day long.

I learned from parenting class that children ages 5 and under really don’t know the answer to why… kids do hit kids and then they retaliate (that’s what one of my daycare kids did today, I watch all 5yr and under). If distraction works maybe ask the daycare providers to distract him with a short activity or ask him for help every now and then. It seems to work when some of the kids are starting to hit or have big emotions.

Also keep up with discipline like you have been doing, the things you do at home definitely help at daycare.

As a licensed childcare provider with 37 yrs experience and an ECE degree, I see 2 possible issues. The first is he has learned that if he hits he goes home. Simple cause and effect learned behavior. No punishment will correct that. Second and more likely possibility is he gets over stimulated in a large group. I have seen children who are fine around a couple of children but can’t self regulate with more then 4 or 5 other children. If that is the case, he needs either a childcare with small class sizes or a licensed in-home provider with smaller ratios. You said he is fine at school and the teacher can redirect him where the class size is smaller but not at childcare where class size is larger.


The only 2 things that worked with my daughter… 1. Super Nanny is awesome and I learned so much from her waaaaay before I had my daughter, especially how to properly give a time out so that they learn. 2. Being invited to a birthday party. She was advised that she would not get to attend due to her behavior AND I followed through.

My son at 2 years old became very aggressive and mean, with hitting and kicking. We would make him sit in corners, take away toys, spank his bum, pretty much you name it we did it. When he turned three he went to preschool and I was terrified. We had a really tough patch with him. I’m part of a mom group and we got talking, one lady suggested maybe rewarding him for good behavior and having a set punishment for bad. I made him a sticker chart at lunch time if he was good all morning he got a sticker and the same before bed. His chart went every where. After so many stickers he was allowed to go to the dollar store and pick something. It was good because he started seeing that mommy wasn’t so frustrated with the way he was acting. It really helped him redirecting him. His teachers were on board with it and we had monthly meeting about how his behavior was. He is now 4 1/2 and we don’t have to do a behavioral sticker chart anymore, we do them for other things. Hope you find what works best for you and your child.


It sounds like the bigger group of kids is causing him some kind of anxiety maybe. I would ask the daycare if there is a way to have a smaller group of kids doing an activity together like crafts or something. If its 1 person and a smaller group of kids he may do better. It also could be attention driven. With 15 to 20 kids there should be at least 3 adults watching them, but if they are just running around wildly your child may feel like it’s too much chaos.