Does your 4-year-old throw things to have fun?
Have you tried all the options, but he is still doing it?
Throwing things for toddlers (1-3 years old) is absolutely fine as they develop new skills by throwing objects to see the cause and effect. They like to hear the sound and explore their power. However, making a toddler understand that throwing things is not a good habit; is difficult.
But a 4-year-old is grown enough to understand the outcomes of their acts. Throwing things by a 4-year-old is not a developmental phase. If he is throwing things that are not meant to be thrown, then it’s time for you to step up and stop him.
If a 4-year-old throws things out of fun and play, it is easy for the parents to cope with the situation. But for that, we must know why he does that.
Why would a 4-year-old throw things for fun?
A preschooler will throw things for fun or out of anger (if your 4-year-old throws things when he is angry; read this). But if your little one is throwing things for entertainment, these could be the reasons.
1- To enjoy the sense of power:
Throwing things needs energy and power. Your little one must be feeling happy when he exercises his power.
2- To enjoy the different sounds of objects
Some kids like to throw things when they are interested in hearing the sound it makes. So, out of curiosity, they throw things that are not meant to be thrown.
4-year olds are just one year ahead of their toddlerhood, so they are expected to throw things just to explore them.
3- Physical activity:
Some kids require more physical activity than others. Your kid might want to have more fun and become more active. This point goes hand in hand with point no. 1 (enjoying the sense of power).
Your child is exercising his power and being more physically active.
4- Learned behavior;
At age 4, many kids start preschool, making them more curious and physically active. When they are so much involved in playing, they imagine and act on it.
Sometimes they act like movie characters and try to copy the scenes they have watched in that movie. They might be learning some habits from movies as well.
5- To test his limits
4-year-olds like to test their boundaries. They will do many things to test whether someone becomes angry or not. Whether they are allowed to do this act or not.
6- He likes your reaction
Parents ignore the throwing habit when children are in toddlerhood because they know every toddler does that. But when a pre-schooler does that, parents give a reaction.
At this age, your child might find it interesting to see your reaction when he throws a thing.
Especially if you start yelling, become angry, or laugh out loud. Your kid will like the attention he is getting.
Moreover, if you tell others about his act, he might also enjoy that attention.
How to stop a 4-year-old from throwing things for fun:
Whatever the reason is, you cannot let your kid throw anything. It can cause damage or even hurt someone.
Here’s what you can do.
1- Talk to them
Always talk to your child, especially at bedtime. Kids listen and understand their parents more when they are about to sleep.
4-year-olds can understand and communicate with clear words, tell them that throwing things can hurt someone or something can break.
2- Provide more physical activity
Involve them in physical activities such as playing hide and seek, cycling, skating, pretending, etc.
Distracting him from throwing things can be the best way to let him forget about this habit.
3-Offer alternatives to throw
Your child might be naturally eager to throw things. He loves the sense of power and energy. So, instead of stopping him altogether, you can offer alternatives to throw. Provide him the things that are meant to be thrown.
Many toys out there are made to be thrown, such as a ball, a Frisbie, an archery bow, and target, etc.
In the next section, we have provided a list of toys that might help the child overcome his habit of throwing things.
4- Be kind and avoid yelling at any cost
We understand that fetching things is frustrating for parents, but remember, yelling will worsen the situation. Your patience will be tested.
Until you coordinate with patience, you will see all the throwing phase will be over in the blink of an eye. Making a 4-year-old understand is way easier as compared to a toddler.
5- Engage him in cleaning when they throw things
You should engage your little one in cleaning when he throws things. This is a positive consequence. “You’ve thrown things, now you have to pick up everything and put it in its place.”
You can help him but do not smile or become angry. Do not give him a signal that he can do this again.
Moreover, engage him in regular household cleaning. The one who cleans the house, will try to avoid the mess.
6- Ignore if the child is trying to annoy you by throwing things
Sometimes ignorance is the key. See, if your child tries to annoy you by throwing things, you should ignore it for some time and talk to him when everything is in its place.
Tell him, “See how amazing our home looks when everything is sorted,” and” I love how you manage your toys in the designated place.” Words like these will make him understand that it makes you happy.
7- Sit with him if he throws food too
Some kids throw food for fun too. To avoid all the mess, parents should sit with them during meals. This way, you would be right there to gently but firmly tell them “NO.”
Make them understand that tossing food will make a mess and is not good behavior. Tell them that the food is only meant to be eaten and they cannot play with it.
Then, a short time-out or a strong objection can be given before they continue their meal.
8-Make him incharge of his things
By the age of 4, children start to become a bit independent. They can communicate and understand the language more easily. So let them take care of things by themselves.
Tell your child if he keeps his things safe and doesn’t break them for a month, he will get an exciting and surprising reward. Then, reward him as promised so that he continues taking care of his things and the throwing habit goes away.
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List of toys for kids who love to throw things for fun:
Here is a list of exciting toys your kids can throw without hurting anything. They will exercise their power and fulfill their wish.
Grade ladder toss game set by GoSports is a fun-filled game that can be played by 2 or 4 players indoors and outdoors. Your kid can throw the ball onto the ladder to gain points.
This game set is made up of rubber which will not hurt anyone. The bolas are attached to thick strings that prevent tangles. This game set is played by throwing the bolo balls to the target, satisfying your child’s urge to throw things.
This easy-score basketball by Little Tikes is a must-have for kids who love throwing the ball around the house. The best thing is the score basketball set is adjustable from 2.5 to 4 feet which means you can bring it home when your child is just a toddler.
The stand is supported by a stable base, which does not make it fall on anyone. This game set will help your child improve hand-eye coordination and, most importantly, improve the throwing skills to the designated target. The basketballs are super soft, so it doesn’t hurt anybody or break anything.
Little tikes’s T-ball set is an indoor + outdoor game set that can teach your child the basics of baseball. In addition, you can adjust the height of the set according to your child’s height so that he can focus more accurately.
The set comes with five plastic tee balls and an oversized plastic baseball bat to be played safely indoors and outdoors. Sets like these engage the child progressively and make them differentiate between things that can be thrown.
Besides being really cute, plushies have been the favorite toy for toddlers and pre-schoolers for years. Because of their squishy texture, adorable stuffed bodies, and heavenly smell, children like to play with them even more.
Get your kids some adorable plushies who like to throw toys. These stuffed fluff balls do not harm or break anything around them.
This pound-and-tap xylophone by Hape is the ultimate solution for kids who like to hit stuff around them. It comes with three balls and a wooden hammer with which the child can plug and play.
The xylophone can also be used solo to encourage musical development and exploration. But, most importantly, it promotes hand and eye coordination and cause and effect.
This cute fuzzy monster bowling pins and ball set by Melissa & Doug can be bought for a kid who loves to throw balls on stuff in the house. This handy pins and ball set comes with a storage bag to carry outdoors.
Having this set will make the kid differentiate between toys meant to be thrown and those not.
Your 4-year-old throws things for fun because he likes to exercise his power and energy. He wants to be more physically active. He might have learned this behavior from other kids as well.
The best thing you can do is to talk to your child and engage him in cleaning the mess. Provide him with the things and toys that are meant to be thrown so that he can satisfy his urge to exercise his power.