So, your toddler has been calling out for your attention for hours. Now you have the upper hand, now you have found a toy that is capturing their attention, and it is time for you to chill out. Next thing you know, you have a toy hurtling toward your head. You don’t react quickly enough (you are probably tired), and the lands directly on your face with aplomb. Rage engulfs you, so you take a few seconds to calm down. Why did that happen? Why do toddlers throw things? In this post, I am going to give you 5 reasons why, and 5 things you can do about it!
PS – giving your toddler soft toys is not the only way around it, and you can’t simply blame the terrible twos!
Let’s take a look at why toddlers throw things…
Why Do Toddlers Throw Things! 5 Reasons Why
Developing Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are the movements of smaller muscles used to pick things up, grip things, twiddle things between your thumb and forefinger, and hurl a heavy plastic object toward a parent’s head.
Your toddler needs to develop these, and needs to practice:
- Picking things up
- Putting things down
- …and more
Ok – so throwing things isn’t technically fine motor skills, they are practicing gross motor skills. However, letting go of the object is practicing fine motor skills.
It is important for a toddler to master these skills.
Developing Hand-Eye Coordination Skills
How far is dad away from me?
How hard do I need to throw this plastic toy to make sure it lands on his unsuspecting face?
These are questions going through your cheeky toddler’s head.
Your toddler will throw an object and will learn whether or not they need to throw with more power, or less power to get it to land on you.
This is your toddler improving their hand-eye coordination skills.
C’mon, admit it. If you were your toddler, would it be fun for you to throw something at a parent?
What about the reaction? Kids love it when they make people jump. Imagine how awesome it would be if you landed the toy on a parent.
I’m not sure about you, but I would find this funny as a toddler. Heck, I find it funny now! As long as it isn’t me, of course.
Your toddler throws things because it is funny.
I don’t need to tell you that toddlers have tons of energy, do I?
I didn’t think so.
Your toddler needs to get rid of the incredible, relentless energy they have. Running is cool, jumping is fun, throwing things is hilarious.
Toddlers get angry.
Honestly, at times, toddlers are like an emotionally unstable pint-sized dictator.
First, don’t let your kids get you angry! Learn to deal with it. If you get angry, they will learn from it.
Your toddler might be throwing things because they are angry, and it is one of the ways they know how to take their anger out.
5 Things You Can Do To Stop Your Toddler Throwing Things
Explain Clearly Why It Is Not Appropriate
First and foremost, you need to set some boundaries.
Throwing stuff isn’t on, and as a fully functioning human being, they need to learn and respect that.
Nope. But, you need to sit them down and explain how wrong it is. Use examples like:
‘Imagine if someone threw something and it hit you on the head, would it hurt?’
Give your toddler a real-life working example of why it is wrong to throw things at people.
Deal With Any Anger Issues
If your toddler is angry, then you need to learn how to deal with it.
Teach your toddler how to deal with anger issues correctly, such as explaining to them that they need to tell you WHY they are angry.
You MUST listen to their answer and give them a good reason why you did what you did.
Sometimes you are going to do something that your toddler will not like, it is unavoidable. Whilst it doesn’t seem right to explain yourself to a toddler, it does help.
Don’t forget about the terrible twos! Your toddler might still be going through this.
Follow Usual Punishment Routine
If you have survived parenting to the toddler years, you must have a punishment routine in place. If you haven’t, then you should implement one ASAP.
The most important part of punishment is that you MUST follow through on all threats. Toddlers will smell your weakness.
Recently, I was in an airport on my way to vacation and I overheard an argument between a toddler and a parent. I heard the parent threaten:
‘If you carry on, we will not be going on vacation’
Ok, let’s face reality here. You are through security, and you are waiting in the departure lounge. Your luggage is on the way to the plane. Clearly you are NOT going to cancel the vacation. Why threaten your toddler with something you are 100% NOT going to carry out?
What happens? Your toddler keeps playing up, and you do not cancel the vacation. What does your toddler learn? Your threats are empty.
You MUST follow up on punishments.
Teach By Example
- Don’t want your toddler arguing? Then you stop arguing.
- Don’t want your toddler swearing? Then you stop swearing.
- Don’t want your toddler getting angry? Then you calm down.
- Don’t want your toddler throwing things? Then you stop throwing things.
Teach your toddler by example. Simple.
Why do toddlers throw things? Because it is fun.
If you can get your toddler throwing things as part of a game, and not at you, then you have won, right?
Why not get your toddler a throwing game? By controlling what they throw, you are letting them practice the skills they need. Something like this basketball hoop is perfect:
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, throwing is something that you can expect during the terrible twos, amongst a whole host of other things! The terrible two’s is a rough part of any parent’s life, but you will get through it. Stay strong.
Yes – toddlers throw things for a number of different reasons. If it is because they find it fun, or are simply practicing some skills, then why not buy them a throwing game like a basketball hoop. If it is because they are angry, then you will need to deal with your toddler’s anger issues.
If your toddler is throwing things because they are angry then you need to address the reasons why they are angry. Ask your toddler, and listen to their response. You are always going to do things that will annoy your toddler, and sometimes simply giving reasons why you are doing something is enough to placate your toddler. Other times, it is not. But, you have to do what you need to do, right?
Why do toddlers throw things? The answer is not easy, but I have given you 5 of the most common reasons on this page.
If your toddler has a throwing habit that is getting too much, then you will need to take them down the punishment route, especially if they are not listening to your requests to stop it. Getting your toddler to listen can be a real struggle, but it is not impossible. It takes time, practice, and a lot of patience!