Eighteen months and eighteen years – the prime ages for head banging. Jonas, at eighteen months and a hefty 21.5 lbs (hefty by the wee people standards in our house) is getting into head banging. His musical tastes run more toward “Bingo” and his brother’s newest ukulele ditty than AC/DC and Metallica. The head banging he’s doing is of the tantrum sort.
First, he gets mad because he’s thwarted by an evil parent. I don’t let him eat whole nuts, or play with a sharp-edged peeler. Or, I suggest he eat his cereal bar rather than throw it on the floor; my hands are full and I can’t pick him up.
Sometimes that’s all it takes to trigger a tantrum, especially if he’s hungry or tired or frustrated by his inability to rearrange the living room furniture single-handed. He yells, he screams, and then, after a quick look over his shoulder to make sure someone is watching, he bangs his head on the nearest surface.
Sometimes it’s a soft chair or our shag rug. Other times it’s the tile, and tile always wins in a toddler head/tile match up. When it’s a hard surface, Jos starts sobbing.
Usually, I try to ignore his tantrums. I’d much rather give him positive reinforcement, and pay attention to him when he’s pouring water from one cup into another, crafting imaginary cheese in the kitchen, throwing Legos into a box, chanting about dogs, kicking a ball up and down the yard, or giggling hysterically on the swings. I know I should ignore it, and I’m trying my best to pretend that I don’t see it, but it’s hard not to give him a hug when a bruise is blossoming on his forehead.
I think Axel went through a very brief stage of head banging a couple times a week at around the same age. It passed, eventually – now the only times he bangs his head are when he falls while he’s trying to ice skate on the kitchen floor, or his invisible rocket ship tips over and sends him sprawling off the couch.
Hopefully, Jonas will move quickly from this kind of head banging.
Were your toddlers head bangers? What did you do, short of getting the kid a helmet?