How to Handle Biting in Toddlers

Those little pearly whites can be so cute when your little one decides to show off their precious smiles. Not so much when they decide to take a chomp out of you! Biting in toddlers is not uncommon. It’s one of those behaviors all parents hope their child doesn’t take to, but many do. If your child is a biter, fear not. You’re not the only one. There are simple ways that you can get through this phase and help your child to stop doing it.

What Makes Children Bite?

Biting can be really embarrassing for parents, but take heart. It is not a reflection of your parenting. It’s merely something many children will exhibit at some point or another and there are many different reasons behind it.

Babies and toddlers may often bite while their teething as it helps to relieve some of their discomfort. Older children, such as preschoolers, that begin displaying this trait usually do so because they are not yet capable of expressing their feelings of frustration or anxiety. They may also be doing it to gain your attention by seeing how you react to it. Regardless of the reason for your child’s biting, it is something that needs to be addressed right away or it can cause serious problems.

Getting Your Child to Stop Biting

I have heard many parents say that if their child bit someone, their idea was to bite back to teach them that it hurts to get them to stop. PLEASE don’t do this. If you tell your child that biting is wrong and not to do it, then bite them to teach them a lesson, it can come across as contradicting to your child. Here are the best tips to help end your child’s biting behavior.

punishedCorrect them – the moment you notice an incident where your child has bitten, take action right away. Tell your child sternly that biting is wrong and it’s something they should never do. Explain to them in a way that they understand that it can hurt others and cause them to not want to play any more with your child. The key is not to overreact to the situation. If your child is doing it to get your attention, then they may continue doing so.

Redirect Them – If you notice your child is trying to bite, remove them from the situation. Many times they are doing it out of frustration. Explain that it’s ok to feel angry or upset, but that they need to have some quiet time. Make it clear that biting is not acceptable.

Give Consequences – if your child continues to bite after being corrected, the next plan of action is to give consequences. It could be a time out or taking away privileges such as TV time. This goes for at home, at daycare, or at someone else’s house, so be sure to tell others what your method is if your child displays the behavior under their supervision.

How to Prevent Biting in Toddlers

There are ways that you can avoid the incident from happening altogether. The best way to keep biting from becoming a habit in your child is to stop it before it starts with some of these preventative measures.

teethingOffer teething toys – if you suspect your toddler’s biting stems from trying to relieve pain associated with teething offer them plenty of teething toys.

Minimize crankiness – if your child becomes cranky, they may be more prone to biting. To keep your child from biting someone be sure to schedule things like play dates or going to the park around nap time so they aren’t sleepy and become cranky. Also be sure to keep snacks along with you any time you go somewhere to help keep them from getting too hungry.

Give attention – you can prevent unwanted behavior such as biting among many others by ensuring that you’re giving your child plenty of your attention. Take the time to read to them or play a game. If your child is experience a big life change such as the arrival of a new sibling, it is crucial to be sure you’re giving your toddler enough of your time.

It may be a very undesirable behavior, but biting in toddlers is just a part of your child’s development that they’ll soon outgrow. Take the necessary action to help keep it from becoming a habit and you can avoid unpleasant situations.

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