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What Can You Do About Throwing Toys?
This is part two of the article. See part one here.
Instead of stopping your toddler from throwing toys, pay attention to objects she throws and where she throws them, so she doesn’t get injured or hurt someone else.
Here are some things you can do to teach your toddler about throwing toys.
Provide Toys that Your Toddler Can Throw
If you allow and encourage your child to throw certain objects (plush toys, balls, rubber blocks, beanbags, etc.), it will help her learn what objects she is and what objects she is not allowed to throw.
Play Throwing Games Together
A throwing game, such as tossing foam balls into baskets is an excellent activity to help your toddler practice this skill and learn how to throw toys safely.
Correct the Behavior
When your toddler starts throwing food or something else inappropriate, calmly take it away and let him know that food isn’t for throwing.
Provide an alternative, such as a ball and allow your child to throw it if he wants. The key when correcting your toddler’s behavior is to be firm, calm, and consistent.
If you give a toy back to your child and he throws it again, don’t escalate the tone of your voice or punish your child.
Be patient and repeat in a firm and gentle corrective manner: “No throwing toys. Food is not for throwing, balls are, “or something similar.
Discourage Aggressive Throwing
Kids learn through repetition. So, if your toddler throws something that he shouldn’t, such as a rock, hard toy, his shoe, or sand from the sandbox in the park, you must always react the same way.
Discourage aggressive throwing by saying something like: ”No, we don’t throw rocks. No, thank you, that hurts,” and redirect your child or pull him aside for time-out, to remove him from the situation and help him focus on your action.
Make sure to explain your action and to keep time-out brief, so your child doesn’t forget why he was discouraged at what he was doing.
Boost Your Child’s Emotional Vocabulary
Work on developing your toddler’s emotional language by encouraging him to use words when angry or upset.
An emotional vocabulary includes all words your child uses to express their feelings and experiences.
Kids use emotional language even before they start talking. They use their body language and cry, smile, and laugh to communicate their feelings and needs.
Remember that toddlers deal with the same emotions adults do.
However, they often lack the words to communicate how they are feeling, expressing their emotions in inappropriate and unconstructive ways instead.
Teaching your child to recognize and express anger, sadness, frustration, happiness, embarrassment, and other emotions will prevent aggressive behaviors and support the child’s emotional and social development.
Encourage Your Toddler to Clean Up
Ask your child to pick up their toys and join them in this activity.
Picking up toys on their own may be an overwhelming task for a toddler, so say something like, “Let’s pick up these toys together,” or “Can you help me tidy up these toys?” and encourage your child to clean up with you.
Be a Good Role Model
Set a good example of what is okay to throw and what’s not.
For example, ask your child to join you while you are doing laundry, so he can see that it’s okay to throw dirty clothes in the basket or the washing machine.
This way, your child will learn when, how, and where is safe to throw certain objects.