Q: When my 4½-year-old plays with other children for about an hour, he becomes aggressive. Often he hits them; just yesterday he hit a 10-month-old.
A: Does anyone ever hit your son? Kids learn by watching and imitating, so if anyone uses physical punishment on him, he will hit others.
It may be that playing with other kids for a full hour is simply too much for your son. So watch while he plays; if you see him becoming frustrated or tired, have him come with you or engage him in a different activity.
As well, it’s difficult for preschoolers to figure out how to play with babies. But by playing with your son and a baby together, you can teach your boy how to interact with a 10-month-old without hurting her.
Let him know that it’s never OK to hurt another person. If he hits another child, remove him and say, “By hitting your friend you have chosen to be on your own until you can play without hurting other kids.” When he says he’s ready to go back, let him. But if he continues being aggressive, remove him for a while and have him come with you to cool down.
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