When small children hit, push, bite, scratch, kick, or punch, they are not doing it to harm or violate another child. They are doing it because they lack impulse control and their stress response makes it hard for them to verbally express themselves in moments of big emotion.
They REACT because they are still learning how to process and ACT in ways that are socially effective.
Which is why it is so important that we don't harshly REACT in response, and instead ACT in ways that model the type of calm and thoughtful responses we want our children to learn in stressful moments.
Guide: don't tan their hide.