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Understanding Why Toddlers Throw Things and Effective Strategies to Stop the Behavior

Tossing is a popular favourite activity for both boys and girls and is a great way for toddlers to practice their fine motor skills.

After discovering the ability to open their fingers and grasp objects, a child's next developmental step is to throw anything in sight.

a baby is using the spoon

If you're a parent of a toddler, you've likely experienced the frustration of watching your little one toss toys, food, or anything else within reach. While it may seem like a simple act of mischief, there are underlying reasons why toddlers engage in this behavior.

In this blog post, we'll explore the common reasons why toddlers throw things and provide practical strategies to help you address and prevent this challenging behavior.

1. Exploration and Experimentation:

- Toddlers are natural explorers who use their senses to learn about the world around them. Tossing objects allows them to observe cause-and-effect relationships and explore concepts such as gravity and trajectory.

2. Communication and Expression:

- For toddlers who are still developing their language skills, throwing things can be a form of communication and self-expression. It may be their way of expressing frustration, excitement, or a desire for attention.

3. Seeking Attention:

- Toddlers thrive on attention and may throw things as a way to get your reaction. Even negative attention, such as scolding or reprimanding, can reinforce the behavior and encourage them to continue.

4. Testing Boundaries:

- As toddlers assert their independence and autonomy, they may test boundaries by engaging in behaviors like throwing. They want to see how you will respond and may continue the behavior if they perceive it as a way to assert control.

5. Sensory Stimulation:

- The act of throwing can provide sensory stimulation and sensory feedback for toddlers. They may enjoy the sound, feel, and visual impact of objects hitting the ground or other surfaces.

Strategies to Stop Toddlers from Throwing Things:

1. Set Clear Expectations:

- Establish clear rules and expectations regarding throwing behavior and communicate them to your child in simple, age-appropriate language. For example, "We keep our toys on the ground" or "We use gentle hands."

2. Redirect Attention:

- When you notice your toddler starting to throw something, gently redirect their attention to a more appropriate activity or toy. Offer alternatives that engage their senses and provide opportunities for exploration and play.

3. Teach Gentle Handling:

- Use positive reinforcement and modeling to teach your toddler how to handle objects gently. Demonstrate the appropriate way to play with toys and praise them when they use gentle hands.

4. Provide Sensory Outlets:

- Offer sensory-rich activities such as sensory bins, playdough, or kinetic sand to satisfy your toddler's need for sensory stimulation in a safe and constructive way.

5. Stay Calm and Consistent:

- Respond to throwing behavior calmly and consistently, avoiding overreacting or giving in to tantrums. Set firm but gentle boundaries and enforce consequences if necessary, such as removing the thrown object or redirecting your child to a quiet time-out spot.


Understanding why toddlers throw things is the first step toward addressing and preventing this challenging behavior. By recognizing the underlying reasons behind throwing behavior and implementing effective strategies such as setting clear expectations, redirecting attention, and teaching gentle handling, you can help your toddler learn appropriate ways to express themselves and interact with their environment. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can guide your little one toward more constructive forms of exploration and play.


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