Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Toddler Biting-Why & How to Stop

Johnny was sent home from daycare with a report that no parent wants to see...he bit a classmate.  Little Suzy has been terrorizing her mother everyday around the same time by walking up and biting her on the leg.

Many parents will tell you to deal with this issue in a number of ways...bite your child back, move your child's arm in front of yours so they chomp down on themselves instead...spank, place in timeout, yell, or ignore...

Is there any right way to treat this issue?  First let's examine why your child may be biting.
Photo courtesy of
  • They're in pain because they're teething. They apply pressure to relieve the swelling around their gums.

  • They're exploring their world. Children at a young age use their mouths, like hands, to discover the world around them.

  • They're craving attention. Bad behaviors such as biting get bad attention, but some children will take any attention they can get.

  • They're frustrated. Biting, like hitting, is a way for some children to assert themselves when they're still too young to express feelings effectively through words.  It may be a sign of affection, tiredness, or even excitement.  Don't just think they are biting you to hurt or create pain.  Very young children don't understand these concepts until they are older.
Trying to figure out which “type” of biting your child is doing may help you better address the problem. There is no right or wrong way, but we've found some tips for prevention and techniques for reaction, should this be a problem with your toddler.
  •  Remain calm. Acting out in an angry manner will only do harm. It will confuse your child and will make you more frustrated with the process. And at all cost do not bite your child. They may think this is a game or even worse, acceptable behavior.
  • Teach that biting HURTS! If you are holding him, put him down immediately and portray emotions that you are in pain. He knows what crying is, and even small babies are upset by others crying because they know it signifies pain and unhappiness. Say "OUCH, BITING HURTS!" loudly.
  •  Keep biters away.  If your child is ever around another child who bites, keep them apart for awhile. Biters do tend to reinforce each other.
Be ready to climb this uphill battle. This is not something that merely goes away on its own. Persistence and reassurance are key to stop your child from biting.

We'd love to hear if you've experienced this issue with your child.  How did you solve the problem in your house?



No comments:

Post a Comment