First of all let me say that all kids hit out and its part of growing up and learning, but it can become a constant battle when you have a larger child who hits his younger sibling, I have a 2,3 and 4 year old and it can become very exhausting at times as it seems they constantly fight some days.
If you are quick enough jump in and diffuse the situation before your child even has time to hit out, sometimes distracting your child is not an option as children can quickly change and snap.
I have found the best approach to hitting other siblings is to take the hitter away from the situation straight away, in my house that means to the bottom of the stairs. I do not accept hitting and no warnings are given, if they hit then they are taken out of the room and placed on the naughty step.
I then ensure that I make a lot of fuss over the child who was the victim, ignoring any please from the culprit until the required time has passed. The hitter is then expected to apologize to the victim before being allowed back to play.
Siblings will fight, but it can become rather dangerous especially if you have a new or young baby and the hitter is an older child. This behavior needs to be stamped out straight away. Never allow for exceptions.
Try to explain to your child afterwards why hitting is so wrong and how much it hurts. It gets better in time I promise ….
I would love to hear how you handle this situation …