What is toddler head banging? Head banging in toddlers is what it sounds like, banging your head on purpose. Boys are more likely to display this type of behavior than girls are. Head banging in children is a fearful sight for parents to witness and so, naturally parents want to know why their child does such a thing and how they can help put a stop to it. There is a variety of reasons why children may bang their heads. Some of the reasons could be for comfort, out of frustration and anger, or simply because they are tired. This article will focus more on head banging out of anger and frustration.
What You Can Do as a Parent
Help Your Toddler Learn to Express his Emotions Properly
Toddlers who head bang out of frustration or anger often do so when they are having a temper tantrum. Since they lack the ability to express their emotions and feelings, they turn to head banging as a form of venting or letting out their feelings. When my son would exhibit this behavior during a temper tantrum, I sought out how I could help him the next time he had a tantrum to not bang his head. Since I knew he was doing it because he didn’t know how to express his anger, I decided to tackle that area. When he had his next tantrum and I knew he was going to bang his head, before he could, I held him and I calmly and sympathetically discussed his feelings with him. This helped him to calm down and it prevented a potential head banging episode.
There are a lot of books that you can purchase off line or get from your local library that is designed to help children express their emotions. You can get these books and read them with your toddler, helping them understand the different emotions we feel and how we can properly express those feelings.
Give Your Child the Attention they Need
Giving your child the proper attention they need is very important because “attention seeking” is a common reason some children head bang. As a parent, I felt I was providing my son with an adequate amount of attention, but I also felt that a little more attention wouldn’t hurt. Therefore, in little ways I would provide a little more attention along with affection towards him to be sure that he is receiving what he needs. Simple ways you can do this is by reading books together, engaging in pretend play or eating a meal together.
Disciplining Your Head Banging Toddler
It is very easy to get upset and agitate over your toddler’s head banging because you don’t want them to hurt themselves. If you choose to discipline your child for the behavior, it is wise to do so in a loving and kind way. You want to be firm and clear about not engaging in such conduct, but you don’t want to be harsh or overly worked up to the point of losing control and provoking the behavior. I would firmly tell my son that I did not want him to do that because I didn’t want him to get hurt. I would place my hand on his head to stop him and then get down on his level and firmly tell him that “he is not going to hurt himself”. I would acknowledge how he was feeling and again tell him how mommy didn’t want him to hurt his head.
My son is three now and rarely ever bangs head anymore. Prior to turning three, I used all the above methods with him and saw major improvements with him. The key is consistency and yes, they do grow out of it, but trying the methods above can get you on your way to relief for you and your family. If you suspect that your child head bangs because of other child behavior disorders or you suspect your child has autism, you would want to speak with your physician about your concerns.