MicroblogMondays: Throwing Things

Okra’s language has grown a lot recently.  He has gone from using single words to putting two to three words together.  You’d think that this progress in communication would reduce his tantrums.  However, it is not the case.  Despite being able to tell us more verbally, he started to throw toys on the floor out of frustration.  His tantrums or meltdowns come quickly and are often times unpredictable.  He could be playing nicely and happy one second, and becomes upset the next.  He has been throwing his wooden trains on the floor to show his frustrations.  In the beginning, I was at a loss as to how to respond to him throwing his toys.  I would tell him “No throwing” and make him say sorry.  When this happens in my mom’s care, she stands there helplessly and says to herself how naughty he is.  But I know that he is not being naughty.  This is his way of communicating to us he is unhappy/upset/frustrated.  The more we tell him no or ignore him, the more he throws.  I want him to know that our hands are not for throwing toys.  Most recently when he gets upset and throws things, I pick him up and hold him from behind to hold both of his arms tight. I pick up the toys from the floor with him in my arms.  I tell him that I can tell he is frustrated, but toys are for playing and holding, not for throwing.  Holding him seems to calm him down more quickly.  I hold him until he doesn’t struggle out of my arms anymore.  If I know why he is frustrated (such as having a difficult time putting a toy together), I show him how to fix whatever it is that needs to be fixed.  I don’t make him say sorry anymore because I don’t think it is meaningful as he doesn’t really know what it means.  His toy throwing happens quite a few times a day.  I handle the situation the same way every tine.  I really don’t know if this is the most appropriate way to handle his frustration/meltdown/tantrum, but I am really trying my best to learn how to handle it.  I hope that as his ability to communicate continues to grow, his meltdown will lessen and the habit of throwing things will disappear.

4 thoughts on “MicroblogMondays: Throwing Things

  1. We had some issues with that too. No idea if any of these ideas will help you, but we had a sort of designated throwing area with soft things to throw. So I would replace whatever she had with one of the throwing toys and direct her to go throw things until she felt better and could talk to me.
    We had, not a calming jar, but you know those wands with the glitter? We had those and I would play with one with her, get her to focus on that and then turn them upside down. Sometimes we’d use a rainstick which was less successful because it was more auditory than visual, but the movement of turning the wand or rainstick seemed to help her focus a bit.
    She still likes to hit things when she gets frustrated so now I’m looking for solutions for that. 😛

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  2. For some children always removing any toy that is thrown works to stop throwing. Saying sorry is meaningless to them unless and until they can say exactly what they are sorry for doing and why. It takes LOTS more language to do that. Telling children ‘we do not throw toys/books/hurt other people’ can give them language and show them consequences. BUT, each child is different.
    Some children simply need to be removed from the setting with only saying ‘Oh. We are done here.’ Particularly when the behavior occurs on an outing, first sign of ill behavior ~~ we leave instantly no second chances. Teaches clearly and ends debate. Kids learn patterns before language.
    You are doing a good job. Show your mom how you leave or how you remove a toy so she knows how to do it. Model the methods.

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  3. that’s so difficult! Something that has been working well for us recently is when my daughter starts having a meltdown, I encourage her to stomp her feet to show her frustration and I do it too. This usually makes her laugh and is much better than hitting which is what she had started to do previously!

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