As shocking as it may seem, slapping and hitting are not uncommon baby behaviours. So, don’t worry – you are certainly not the only concerned parent here!
Moreover, it is part of a baby’s healthy development. Even though hitting is a totally unacceptable social gesture.
But why is that happening?
Read on to find out the 4 reasons why your baby hit your face.
Why Does My Baby Hit My Face?
Babies don’t realize hitting can hurt, and by no means do they want to be violent towards you. For them hitting your face is just a sensory experience using your hands. Very much the same as putting everything in their mouths. Often, babies enjoy the sound that generates face slap. Another reason is that your baby is just trying to touch your face. However, the uncoordinated jerky movement causes hitting it instead. Also, your baby may just want to play a slapping game, where she bashes everything and everyone within her hand’s reach. Because she is excited to see what reaction it will provoke.
1. Sensory Exploration
The first and foremost reason your little bundle of joy hits your face is – simply a sensory experience.
Because babies love to experiment and are very keen to explore things around them using their hands and mouths.
This is how they discover new tastes, textures, and shapes of literally anything they can lay their hands on. And this is a normal and healthy development stage of a baby.
Most likely you have seen your baby put everything in her mouth. And I mean EVERYTHING within their reach.
The same applies to hitting, patting, banging, and slapping.
These “socially unacceptable actions” allow babies to discover the world around them.
Since their little chubby hands are not well coordinated and controlled – they are not capable of the gentle touch or fine motor skills like pincer grasp.
So, no – your baby is absolutely not being aggressive towards you. Their intentions are totally innocent! At least for now…
Because once they enter toddlerhood, hitting becomes a way of expressing their frustration.
But, that’s a whole different topic for a separate post.
2. Slapping Sound Is Fascinating
Slapping mommy’s face activates yet another sense of your developing tot- hearing.
Believe it or not, babies may find the sound of hitting the face quite amusing!
And it is no different from listening to the noise of banging pots and pans or clapping hands or tapping the floor.
Which is both entertaining and very educating since they discover that they can produce all these new noises!
3. Trying To Reach Your Face
Hitting may also be explained as your baby’s wild attempt to reach your face, resulting in a slap.
And this happens because of poor hand-eye coordination and muscle control, which require lots of learning and practice.
These fine motor skills may take even 2 years to develop, so you need to be patient with your little one… and forgiving!
In the meantime, here are some activities you can do with your baby to develop fine motor skills:
Fine Motor Activities
4. Form Of Play and Social Interaction
Babies tend to bash everything with their constantly waving arms. All. The. Time.
By everything, I literally mean absolutely whatever comes within a range of their short arms: the walls, the toys, the bed, the floor, the cat, the changing table, themselves… and your face, which is yet another “thing” to hit with their newly discovered hands.
In other words, your baby is cheerfully flapping her hands away, and your face happens to be in a way ????
So, this slapping game is a way of discovering different things they can do with their arms.
Moreover, they seem to be fascinated by seeing what happens to the “thing” after they bashed it.
Which is an indicator of attainment of yet another milestone – understanding cause and effect.
This means that they learn, that they can make things happen, and their actions generate reactions.
How to deal with a baby hitting your face?
The best thing to do is distract, discourage and redirect your little one’s attention to something else.
There is no point in disciplining babies at this age, as they are not aware they are doing something wrong.
So, start by firmly saying no after your baby hits you. Afterwards, you can softly stroke your child’s arm to demonstrate the “gentle touch”. Hopefully, this will encourage her to do the same.
If it does not work, you can quickly distract her with a new activity, like clapping games, playing peek-a-boo, or checking out a new toy.
Another way to deal with your baby’s hitting is to ignore it. She will eventually grow bored with it, especially if you do not respond to her actions.
So, check out what works for you best.
What you shouldn’t do is to make it a joke and laugh it off. Such a response may be interpreted by your baby as an approval. And an invitation to do more slapping!
Final Few Lines
Don’t take it personally if your baby slaps your face.
In fact, you shouldn’t really view this as slapping or intentional hitting to express anger or frustration.
Your baby is most likely exploring the world around them using all of their sensors, including (not-so-gentle) touch.
Hitting may also be a way to discover what her hands are capable of while enjoying the slapping noise it produces. Such a “game” helps them to comprehend the concept of cause and effect.
Also, they may try to reach your face, but the poor hand-face coordination doesn’t allow it to happen.
So next time your baby slaps you in the face, be firm with her and say this is wrong and demonstrate gentle touch. Alternatively, you can divert her attention to a new activity and distract her from hitting.
Or, you could also ignore it. Because if she receives no response to her actions, she will quickly get bored with it!