Effective Solutions: What to Do When Toddlers Throw Things

what to do when toddlers throw things

Managing a toddler’s throwing behavior can be a challenging task for parents and caregivers. Throwing things is a common behavior among toddlers, but it can be dangerous and may cause harm to themselves or others. It’s essential to find effective solutions to address this behavior.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore strategies for dealing with toddlers who throw things, tips for managing their behavior, and techniques for addressing the issue effectively. By following these methods, you can help redirect your toddler’s throwing behavior towards more appropriate activities and prevent potential accidents.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding why toddlers throw things is crucial in addressing the issue effectively.
  • Setting clear boundaries and rules around throwing objects can help toddlers understand appropriate behavior.
  • Providing alternative outlets for toddler energy and teaching gentle communication can help minimize throwing behavior.
  • Being a positive role model and maintaining consistency in parenting approaches can also aid in reducing toddler throwing behaviors.
  • Creating a safe environment, staying calm and patient, and seeking professional help if needed are also vital considerations for managing toddler throwing behavior.

Section 2: Understand the Behavior

Before you can effectively address your toddler’s throwing behavior, it’s important to understand the reasons behind it.

One of the main causes of toddler throwing behavior is their lack of impulse control. At this age, toddlers are still developing their ability to regulate their emotions and actions. When they get frustrated, angry, or excited, throwing objects can be a quick and easy way to release their emotions.

Another reason toddlers may throw things is that they are seeking attention. When toddlers throw objects, it often elicits a reaction from their caregivers, whether it’s positive or negative. As a result, they may continue to throw things as a means of getting attention.

Additionally, toddlers may throw things out of curiosity or as a way to explore cause and effect. They may enjoy the sound of a toy hitting the floor or watching an object bounce.

It’s also important to note that some toddlers may engage in throwing behavior as a result of underlying developmental or behavioral issues. If your child’s throwing behavior is particularly frequent or intense, it may be worth consulting with a pediatrician or other relevant professionals to rule out any underlying conditions.

Set Clear Boundaries

Setting clear boundaries and rules around throwing objects is an essential step in addressing the behavior. Toddlers thrive in a structured environment and need to understand what is expected of them. To establish clear boundaries:

  1. Identify the objects that are acceptable for throwing and those that are not.
  2. Communicate the rules to your toddler in clear and concise language.
  3. Consistently enforce the rules, reminding your toddler of the consequences of breaking them.

By doing so, you teach your toddler what is appropriate behavior and what isn’t. Your toddler will learn to respect the rules, reducing the likelihood of throwing objects.

It’s important to keep in mind that toddlers are still learning and will test the boundaries. Consistency is key in reinforcing the rules and helping your toddler understand what is expected of them.

Offer Alternative Outlets

Providing alternative outlets for your toddler’s energy is a great way to redirect their throwing behavior. When your toddler is throwing things, it’s often because they have excess energy and need to release it in a physical way. Here are some ideas for alternative outlets you can offer your toddler:

  • Take them outside to run, jump, or play ball
  • Provide toys that encourage physical activity, such as a ride-on toy or trampoline
  • Offer sensory activities, such as play-dough, water play, or sandboxes
  • Engage in music and movement activities, such as dancing or playing instruments

It’s important to find activities that your toddler enjoys and are developmentally appropriate. By offering stimulating and engaging activities that channel their energy, you can reduce the likelihood of throwing behavior and promote physical and cognitive development.

Redirecting Throwing Behavior

It’s also important to redirect your toddler’s throwing behavior towards appropriate activities. When you notice your toddler beginning to throw things, gently remind them of the alternative outlets you’ve provided. For example, if your toddler is throwing a ball inside, you can say something like “Throwing the ball is a great way to get your energy out, let’s take it outside and play with it there.”

Another strategy is to provide your toddler with objects that are safe for throwing, such as soft balls or stuffed animals, and encourage them to throw those instead of household items or toys that could cause damage.

By consistently redirecting your toddler’s throwing behavior towards appropriate activities, you can help them develop healthy and safe ways to express themselves and channel their energy.

Teach Gentle Communication

Toddlers often throw objects when they are frustrated and unable to express themselves. As a caregiver, it’s essential to teach your child gentle communication techniques. Encourage your toddler to use words to express their needs and emotions instead of resorting to throwing objects.

“I know you’re angry that we have to leave the park, but instead of throwing your toy, let’s talk about how you’re feeling.”

Modeling gentle communication is also essential. When communicating with your child, use a calm tone and avoid yelling or aggressive behavior. Your child will learn from your example and mimic your behavior.

Be a Role Model

As a parent or caregiver, you play a significant role in shaping your toddler’s behavior. Toddlers often learn by observing and imitating the adults around them. Therefore, it’s crucial to model appropriate behavior to minimize throwing habits in toddlers.

When interacting with your toddler, always exhibit respectful communication and avoid aggressive or violent behavior, such as yelling or hitting. Encourage your toddler to use gentle communication and demonstrate how to express emotions appropriately. For example, you can say, “I understand that you’re upset, but it’s not okay to throw things. Can you tell me what’s wrong?”

Additionally, make sure to praise and acknowledge your toddler’s positive behavior. Celebrate when your toddler chooses to express themselves appropriately and avoid throwing objects. This reinforcement helps your toddler understand what behavior is expected and motivates them to continue making positive choices.

Maintain Consistency

Consistency is key when it comes to addressing toddler throwing behaviors. Children thrive on routine and predictable patterns of behavior, so maintaining a consistent approach is important in establishing clear expectations for their behavior.

When explaining rules and boundaries around throwing objects, it’s essential to be clear and consistent in your communication. Avoid sending mixed messages, as this can be confusing for your toddler and undermine the effectiveness of your efforts. Ensure that all caregivers and family members are on the same page regarding the rules, and consistently enforce them to create a predictable and safe environment for your child.

Consistent parenting approaches will help your toddler understand that throwing behaviors are not acceptable, and that there are consequences for their actions. By consistently modeling and reinforcing appropriate behavior, you can help your toddler develop the skills and habits they need to engage in positive and safe behaviors and reduce the likelihood of throwing objects.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool that can help motivate positive behavior in toddlers. Rather than focusing solely on disciplining unwanted behavior, it’s important to also acknowledge and reward positive behavior.

One effective strategy is to reinforce alternatives to throwing. For example, if your toddler expresses frustration in a positive way, such as using words to communicate their feelings instead of throwing objects, offer praise and a small reward such as a sticker or a favorite snack.

When using positive reinforcement, it’s important to be specific about what behavior you are rewarding. Instead of simply saying “good job,” specifically acknowledge the positive behavior you observed, such as “I’m proud of you for using your words instead of throwing.”

It’s also important to be consistent with your use of positive reinforcement. Reward positive behavior every time you observe it to reinforce the desired behavior and motivate your toddler to continue making positive choices.

By using positive reinforcement to reinforce alternatives to throwing, you can help your toddler develop positive behavior patterns and reduce the likelihood of throwing behavior in the future.

Create a Safe Environment

As you work towards redirecting your toddler’s throwing behavior, it’s important to ensure they are in a safe environment. Childproofing your home is crucial to prevent accidents and injuries. With curious toddlers, it’s important to remove any potentially dangerous objects from their reach. For instance, keep small objects and choking hazards away from your toddler’s reach. You can also block off stairways and balconies to prevent falls. Here are a few tips for creating a safe environment:

  • Secure heavy furniture, including bookshelves and dressers, to the wall to prevent them from falling over if your toddler tries to climb them.
  • Keep cleaning products and medications in a locked cabinet or high up on a shelf.
  • Use outlet covers to prevent electric shock.
  • Consider using baby gates to restrict access to certain areas of your home.

By creating a safe environment, you can minimize the risks of injury and help your toddler feel secure as they learn to express themselves in appropriate ways.

Stay Calm and Patient

Dealing with toddler throwing behaviors can be frustrating, but it’s important to stay calm and patient. It’s easy to become overwhelmed or angry when your child is throwing things, but responding in a negative or aggressive manner can escalate the situation and reinforce the behavior. Instead, take a deep breath and remind yourself that your child is still developing and learning appropriate ways to express themselves.

One way to manage your frustration is to take a break when needed. If you feel yourself becoming angry or overwhelmed, step away from the situation for a few minutes. Take a walk, practice deep breathing, or engage in another relaxing activity to help you calm down before returning to address the behavior.

It’s also important to maintain a patient approach when addressing the issue with your toddler. Remember that change takes time and that it’s normal for your child to slip up and throw objects occasionally, even after implementing new strategies. Praise and reinforce positive behavior when you see it, but don’t expect instant results.

By staying calm and patient, you can create a positive and supportive environment for your toddler to learn and grow.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

While most toddler throwing behaviors are normal, some may be a cause for concern. If your toddler’s throwing behavior becomes unusually frequent, aggressive, or dangerous, it is essential to seek professional help. Consulting a pediatrician or another relevant professional can provide guidance and support in addressing the issue and identifying any underlying causes.

It is particularly important to seek help if your toddler’s throwing behavior is accompanied by other concerning behaviors, such as aggression towards people or animals, self-injury, or developmental delays. Early intervention can help address any underlying issues and prevent further problems.

Remember that seeking professional help does not mean you have failed as a parent or caregiver. It is a proactive step towards ensuring your toddler’s well-being and development. Professionals can provide valuable insights, resources, and support to help you manage your toddler’s behavior effectively.

Encourage Social Interaction

Encouraging social skills in toddlers is an important part of their development. Social interaction can help reduce instances of throwing behaviors by providing children with alternative ways to express themselves and channel their energy.

One way to promote social skills is by engaging with other children. Arrange playdates with friends or family members who have toddlers of a similar age. This will give your child the opportunity to practice sharing, taking turns, and communicating with others.

Attending toddler-friendly activities in your community, such as storytime at the library or a local park playgroup, can also provide opportunities for social interaction. These types of activities can help your child develop social skills while burning off energy in a safe and positive environment.

Encouraging social skills and engaging with other children can contribute to healthy social and emotional development, setting a foundation for positive behavior in the future.


As a parent or caregiver, dealing with toddler throwing behaviors can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that it’s a common behavior and can be managed effectively. By understanding the reasons behind the behavior and implementing the strategies outlined in this guide, you can create a safe and positive environment that encourages appropriate behavior and helps minimize throwing incidents.

To summarize, effective solutions for managing toddler throwing behaviors include setting clear boundaries, offering alternative outlets, teaching gentle communication, being a positive role model, maintaining consistency, using positive reinforcement, creating a safe environment, staying calm and patient, seeking professional help if needed, and encouraging social interaction.

Remember, every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It’s important to be patient, consistent, and adaptable in your approach. With time and effort, you can help your toddler develop appropriate ways to express themselves and reduce throwing incidents.


Q: What should I do when my toddler throws things?

A: When your toddler throws things, it’s important to address the behavior calmly and consistently. Remove any dangerous objects from their reach and explain that throwing is not allowed. Offer alternative activities or toys to redirect their energy. Reinforce positive behavior by praising them when they choose not to throw and provide gentle reminders when they do.

Q: Why do toddlers throw things?

A: Toddlers may throw things for a variety of reasons. It can be a form of exploration, testing boundaries, seeking attention, expressing frustration, or imitating behavior they’ve observed. Understanding the underlying reasons behind their throwing behavior can help in addressing it effectively.

Q: How can I set clear boundaries for throwing objects?

A: Setting clear boundaries is crucial in managing toddler throwing behaviors. Establish consistent rules and explain them in simple terms. Use visual cues, such as a designated throwing area or storage for objects, to help them understand where it’s appropriate to throw. Be consistent in enforcing the boundaries and provide gentle reminders as needed.

Q: What are some alternative outlets for my toddler’s energy?

A: Providing alternative outlets for your toddler’s energy can help redirect their throwing behavior. Encourage physical activities like dancing, jumping, or playing with balls. Offer art materials, sensory play, or puzzles to engage their minds. Engaging them in structured playdates or social activities can also help channel their energy productively.

Q: How can I teach my toddler gentle communication?

A: Teaching gentle communication is important in reducing throwing behaviors. Encourage your toddler to use words or gestures to express their needs or emotions instead of throwing objects. Model and reinforce positive communication by using gentle words and demonstrating patience when they’re trying to express themselves.

Q: Why is being a role model important in addressing throwing behaviors?

A: Toddlers often learn by observing and imitating adults. Being a positive role model is crucial in teaching them appropriate behavior. Show them how to handle frustration or anger without resorting to throwing. Model patience, communication, and problem-solving skills to help them learn alternative ways to express themselves.

Q: How can I maintain consistency when addressing throwing behaviors?

A: Consistency is key in addressing throwing behaviors. Establish clear rules and consequences and be consistent in enforcing them. Avoid mixed messages by ensuring that all caregivers provide the same expectations and consequences. Consistency helps toddlers understand the boundaries and reduces confusion and frustration.

Q: How can I use positive reinforcement to address throwing behaviors?

A: Positive reinforcement can be a powerful tool in shaping desirable behavior. Praise and reward your toddler when they make positive choices and avoid throwing objects. Use a system of rewards or incentives to motivate them to choose alternative behaviors. Celebrate their efforts and progress along the way.

Q: How can I create a safe environment to prevent throwing incidents?

A: Creating a safe environment is essential in preventing accidents and minimizing throwing behaviors. Childproof your home by removing potentially dangerous objects or securing them. Store breakable or valuable items out of reach. Make sure furniture is stable and consider using soft materials or padding in certain areas. Regularly assess the environment to ensure it remains safe for your toddler.

Q: How can I manage my own frustration when dealing with throwing behaviors?

A: Dealing with toddler throwing behaviors can be frustrating, but it’s important to stay calm and patient. Take deep breaths, step away if needed, and remind yourself that it’s a normal phase of development. Find healthy coping mechanisms for managing your own stress levels, such as exercise or seeking support from others.

Q: When should I seek professional help for my toddler’s throwing behavior?

A: If your toddler’s throwing behavior persists or becomes overly aggressive, it may be necessary to seek professional help. Consult with a pediatrician or other relevant professionals who specialize in child behavior if you have concerns about your toddler’s development. They can provide guidance, support, and recommend further intervention if necessary.

Q: How can I encourage positive social interaction to minimize throwing behavior?

A: Promoting positive social skills and engaging your toddler with other children can help reduce throwing behavior. Encourage playdates or enroll them in structured activities where they can interact with peers. Teach them how to take turns, share, and communicate effectively. Modeling positive social behavior yourself can also reinforce their learning.

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