Tough Toddlers: 4 Common Triggers for Hitting and Biting

Toddler Trigger: She Can't Find the Right Words

Like everyone else, 1-year-olds get bored, hungry, tired, and overwhelmed. The difference is they lack the verbal skills to communicate these emotions, which can make them even more frustrated. "Since your toddler's vocabulary isn't fully developed yet, she's more likely to use her body to show her feelings or to strike back in disagreement," says Dr. Schechter.

WHAT TO DO Pinpointing the reason why your toddler is upset can be tough at this age: Is she hitting because she's annoyed she can't find her favorite toy? Or does she want a snack? Help her put words to her gestures. If she slaps at the sippy cup of juice because it's not what she wants, for example, respond, "You want milk! Say, 'milk.'" And encourage her to keep at it by making sure you praise her when she does use her words. Before long, she'll learn that speaking is a much more effective way of getting her needs met than aggressive behavior.

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