When it comes to behaviors in the classroom it can be tricky to know how to stop a child from throwing things. These tips and tricks will help!
Helping students navigate their behavior and emotions in the classroom is an important job. It can be challenging when students are clearly defiant but in many cases, continuous reinforcement of the right behavior and consistency in the classroom can help a lot.
These teacher-tested tips and tricks to stop a child from throwing things are perfect for preschool and lower elementary grades. For older students, the strategies and suggestions might need to be adjusted based on the students’ strengths and sizes.
Teaching a Child How to Stop Throwing Things
Remember, you know your students best. Pick and choose the strategies below that will work best for them and for you and the resources you have available in your classroom.
Discover Their Why
When you just want a behavior to stop it can be difficult to remember that there is usually a reason behind the behavior. In the case of throwing things, does the child enjoy the actual act of throwing or does he enjoy watching things move through the air? When you find out the reason behind the behavior, it becomes easier to substitute other, more appropriate behaviors in its place.
Designated Throwing Area
For some kids, the act of throwing something is soothing or helps to calm their nerves. Instead of fighting the behavior, have a designated throwing area for the classroom. It could be a small spot by your desk or a corner where you strategically locate a small trashcan for them to throw into. An empty basket and a jar of pompoms are always a good throwing area solution as the pompoms make no noise and the goal is to get them into the basket which reduces clean-up.
A hook-and-loop activity wall is also a good idea for a throwing space in the classroom. Create a wall space in the room that’s covered in hook and loop material and cover small ping pong or foam balls in a strip of hook and loop material. The student can then throw the ball against the wall in a safe and appropriate way.
If you have the ability to follow behind your student for a few days, you can place your hand on items they try to pick up to throw. This is time and attention intensive, but when the child picks up something that should not be thrown, you place your hand on it and say no. When it is something that they can throw, you say yes and allow them to throw it. Ideally, this will help students understand what is okay to throw and what needs to be left alone.
Get Them Moving
When you’re trying to figure out how to stop a child from throwing things, think about the physical act of throwing. Sometimes, throwing is a physical outlet for excess energy. Try to prevent the throwing by starting the day with giant arm circles (with ribbons if you have them available in your classroom) and taking brain breaks throughout the day to repeat the activity. Getting out the extra energy can make it much easier for students to choose appropriate behaviors.
Limit Your Reaction
If you have a big reaction to a throwing behavior it sends the message that the behavior will get the child undivided attention. Instead of having a big response, redirect the behavior or ask the child to pick up the item and continue with your lesson. The less attention the behavior produces, the more likely it is that the child will stop throwing things as frequently in the classroom.
When your student won’t stop throwing things in the classroom the number one priority must be his safety and the safety of other students. Once that is addressed, the act of throwing can be addressed. It may not be easy to figure out how to stop a child from throwing things in the classroom but it can be done!