If you observe your child is throwing things because they are frustrated, introduce the sign for “help.” Make a fist with your dominant hand and place it over top of your non-dominant hand which is laying flat. Move both hands upwards to make the sign.
If you observe that your child is throwing something to get your attention, do your best to give them your full attention.
Spend some time making eye contact, talking, reading a book. It is especially helpful to recognize this need if you’ve been busy; your child needs some one-on-one time with you!
3. Is it to explore and develop a new skill?
Is it the exploration of:
gross motor skills
cause and effect
Redirect the child to something they can throw:
Basket of soft balls (save hard balls for outside to send child message that we can throw soft balls inside and hard balls outside)
Use an empty bucket or bin to throw the balls/bean bags/stuffed animals into. Use multiple buckets/bins at different distances for an extra challenge.
You could also use a hula hoop or painters tape to make a circle/square on the ground to throw into.
With the balloon, you could play a game of keep up. If you have the space indoors, this is a great gross motor activity to get moving.
Another fun throwing activity is “Sticky spider web”.
Make a “web” in a door frame with painters tape, sticky side facing your child. Use recycled paper to make balls. Demonstrate how to throw the paper balls and stick to web.
This activity could also be done with the sticky side facing away from the child, create large gaps in the “web” for the child to throw balls through.
Just make sure the web is low enough for your child to be successful and leave a large enough gap at the bottom of the web for the child to be able to crawl through and retrieve balls from the other side.
4. Is it a need/desire to move?
Sometimes a child is throwing because they need to move.
You can offer alternative ways to move that are less destructive.
Create an obstacle course
Make a balance beam with painters tape on the floor
Build a tall tower
Carry heavy objects to provide an opportunity for maximum effort, where the child uses mental and physical energy. This will help to release pent-up energy.
You can also redirect throwing to rolling. This can be done with empty water bottles, paper tubes, cans, or you can buy a bowling set and demonstrate how to roll the ball towards the pins and knock them down.
This activity can also be simplified in infancy by sitting across from the child and rolling ball back and forth to each other.
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