May 31, 2019
Why does my toddler keep throwing things? If you are a parent of a little one, this question has likely come up during toddler tantrums or just playtime in general. Here are a few things to keep in mind about your child’s new fascination with tossing everything in sight:
Throwing Is Totally Normal Toddler Behavior:
Monti Kids parents frequently reach out to us and say “My toddler throws toys instead of playing with them.” Your little one loves to experiment with cause and effect, and throwing is a great way to do so.
Offer Alternatives to Throwing:
The mantra “freedom within limits” is an important part of the Montessori method, and a great way to deal with behavior like throwing. Offer options that allow your child to continue exploring this skill in a safe and respectful way.
Example, say something like “I see that you’re excited to throw your wooden balls. That’s dangerous to throw indoors, but would you like to go outside with me and throw something else?” If going outside is not an option, you can say something like “Throwing things can be so much fun, but throwing your wooden balls is dangerous. If you’d like to keep going, you can throw your stuffed animal against this wall because soft and won’t hurt anyone.”
Provide Toddlers Freedom Within Limits:
Try to address his curiosity and need to learn from experience, while also setting a limit for when and where it is appropriate and safe. Your little one is exploring, and if you can figure out how to satisfy this curiosity elsewhere, your son will be able to relax, better focus on tasks, and use his other toys and materials in their intended ways. Allowing freedom within limits will lay an important foundation as limits become even more important (i.e. “You can cross the road as long as you’re holding my hand,” or “You can let yourself out of your car seat, as long as you stand by the door until I come get you”).
Toddlers Like to Hear What They Can Do:
In general, your toddler likes to hear what she can do. Throwing is a specific incident, but this concept can be translated to lots of scenarios in life that you might find your toddler in: climbing, running, shouting, and so on. She lives in a world created and run by adults. During this period when she wants to become more independent and separate psychologically from her parents, it’s really challenging for her to constantly hear “no” or what “not to do.” Save those phrases for moments when you really need them.
Limits Will Be Tested:
No matter how perfectly you have managed your child’s environment, he will sometimes be willful and keep doing things that you have told him not to do. If he isn’t interested in the alternatives you offer, you can say something like: “You’re showing me you’re done with the Tracker balls. I’m going to put them in this drawer (or up on this shelf, out of sight, etc.) until you’re ready for them again. You can throw your plush ball instead.”