When Your Toddler Bites

Your 2 year old just bit your neighbour’s child during a play date. You are shocked and don’t know how to address this behaviour. It can be difficult to respond to your child’s biting behaviour. Often a perfectly fun play time can turn into a shrieking incident not only for the children but the parents as well.

But biting is a common reaction for frustration among toddlers. Most toddlers between one and three take to biting others, and this is usually another child. While not all children resort to biting, they can take to hitting, pushing or grabbing for the very same reasons.

Why Does Your Toddler Bite

Biting is a means of communication for your child, especially since his verbal skills have not developed properly. So he is going to bite when he actually wants to say “pay attention to me right now” or “give my truck back.” And what’s more – your toddler knows that biting works because it brings out an immediate response. Teething discomfort can also cause your baby to bite.

Start the Discipline Early

Biting is just as aggressive as pushing or hitting and should be treated and controlled in the same manner. Beginning this at a very early age can help your child develop a more tolerant attitude towards others.

• If your baby is teething, give him replacement objects like teething rings to ease the pain.

• Help your toddler learn some words like “no,” “give me” to express his frustration.

• Treat him with respect and tell him firmly that such behaviour will not be tolerated. Repeat your message and make it consistent.

• Never use physical punishment or bite back your child. He is too young to realize that biting can hurt. Besides, the use of physical punishments does not give the desired result.

• Give your first attention to the child who has been bitten, fuss over that child – this will help show your toddler that biting is not a way of getting attention.

• Recognize the signs and situations that can lead to biting. Remember that if you are going to pay too much attention, then the biting will become an attention-getter for the child.

Most toddlers bite just a few times before quitting the habit for good. But if the biting continues, then you need to act tough and act fast to break the behaviour.



Anupama