This is a very common problem for children between one - three years.
Often the hitting occurs because the child is frustrated and is trying to get his/her point across to others.
Sometimes the hitting can be because the child can’t express themselves with words, and verbalise their needs, other times, it can be purely because the other child has done something they don’t like and it is a reaction to that! Children are human after all, and if they are pushed they can loose their temper.
Some children are feistier than others and are more likely to lash out, whereas others will get upset and back away from the situation, again, like adults, they are all different.
Children need to learn how to vent their frustration in the right way, and be helped to understand their feelings.
Whatever the reason, if your child is hitting, then it needs to be addressed, as other children don’t like to be hit, it can cause a very unpleasant situation with their parents, and ultimately, they need to understand that they cannot continue to do it.
So, what should you do if your child hits another child?
My advice would be to give your child some ‘thinking time’ to reflect on what they have done, and also give them a chance to calm down, away from their friends. There are two reasons to do this, one, to defuse the situation and two, to make the child realise that that behaviour is going to result in them being by themselves and missing out on fun and playtime with their friends.
You can implement a ‘Thinking Spot’, either a step, or a cushion that your child sits on when they have done something you don’t like. They will have to sit there for the same amount of minutes as their age (two minutes for a two-year-old for example) and think about what they have done.
I think that a ‘Thinking Spot’ has more impact on a child than a ‘Naughty Step’ as children take things very literally, and so they will be naughty on a ‘Naughty Step’ and think on a ‘Thinking Spot’. I have experimented with this, and it has been proven to be true.
Once the child has ‘served’ his/her time on the ‘Thinking Spot’ ensure that they apologise to the child they hit, and then they can go back and play.
Repeat this consequence each time the hitting occurs, wherever you are, you need to be consistent with this, as otherwise they will not take you seriously. they will soon realise that they don’t want to sit on the ‘Thinking Spot and miss out on all of the fun!