Biting Hurts; How to Deal With It

Have you been the recipient of a biting toddler’s chomp? Parents, adults and even other children wonder what causes a… Read More

Biting Hurts; How to Deal With It

Which option is better?

Crying baby

Have you been the recipient of a biting toddler’s chomp? Parents, adults and even other children wonder what causes a preschooler to bit another child or sink his teeth into you. The reason little ones bite is because they cannot express their feelings, so they show it.

Most children will bite someone at least once while in preschool. This may result because the child is scared, angry, frustrated or because someone bit them first. Biting can be the weapon of choice during a toddler fight over anything…toys, food, or space. Even the introduction of a new sibling or an upsetting change can excite or stimulate a child enough to bite.

Biting hurts. Parents get upset that their child would do such a thing. Other parents get upset when their child gets bitten. Teachers struggle with a persistent biter because they always have to be watched in the presence of other children. A biting child can become outcast at a school or playgroup.

The good news is that children bite less as they grow older. In the meantime, here are some practical tips to help with a biting child:

Separate the children immediately when biting occurs. Get them out of reach of one another. Check for injury to the child bitten. Get medical care immediately if needed.

Be firm that biting is not acceptable while staying calm, but firm. Don’t react harshly and for goodness sakes, don’t bite the child to show them what it feels like. Children mimic behavior so this will only perpetuate the misbehavior.

Talk to the child who did the biting. Try to find out what he or she is upset about. Encourage the child to come to you or another adult the next time he or she becomes angry or frustrated. When the child does do this, be sure to show affirmative praise and love.

Role playing work. Act out what happened before the biting occurred and show how the situation could have been handled differently. Ask the child what he should do instead of biting. Show him the correct behavior. Talking things through and showing a better alternative than biting can help a toddler learn to react differently the next time.

The important thing to remember is that toddlers naturally bite. How you, as the adult, reacts to it can help prevent the behavior from continuing. Patience, love and understanding can help all involved to work to change the behavior.

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