Ouch! You feel a sudden pain, and then you realize that your toddler bit you.  It is not the first time that your child has bitten you or somebody else. You may begin to wonder if there is something wrong with your child.  Biting is quite common in babies and toddlers, and so as your concerns. Don't worry; You help and support your child to stop him/her from biting.

Before we go to the tips on how to stop the biting, let us try to understand first why babies and toddlers bite.

Why Do Toddlers Bite

You may observe your child biting his/her finger or biting anyone he/can she reach. Here are possible reasons for your child's biting incidents.

1.     Teething

When children are teething, their gums are swollen and painful, and so they are looking for something to relieve them of the pain.  Biting helps them manage their discomfort.

2.     Attention

If the child feels neglected and has successfully received attention through his biting behaviour, he/she might do it even more just to get noticed. 

3.     Curiosity

Kids love to experiment, explore, and observe.  Your child may be curious about what different objects taste and feel, or they are testing what your reaction might be through biting.

4.     Strong emotions

Since young kids do not know how to express their feelings through words, they tend to vent out through biting or hitting. Your child may struggle with an overwhelming feeling may it be of frustration or even happiness.

Now that you are aware of the probable reasons your child bites, here are some tips on how you can stop your child from biting.

What to Do To Prevent Your Toddler from Biting

To identify the possible trigger of biting, observe your child.   You can take note of the instances by identifying the following:

·       Who was bitten?  Was he/she bitten before?

·       What is happening before the bite?

·       What was your child doing?

·       What does your child feel before he/she bit someone?

Review your notes and see if there's a pattern. Once you have identified the cause, you can try these tips to stop your child from biting.

1. Soothe the gums

If your child is teething or needs oral sensory, you can give your child a cool cloth, a chew tool, or a teether for your child to chew on.  The fabric and teether can help relieve gum pains and can provide some distraction. 

2.     Be present

If you think your child is seeking comfort or attention, try to evaluate the quality of your time with him/her.  You can allot special one-on-one time with your child and do an activity with him/her.  It can be as simple as cuddling, singing, or reading a book.  As long as you give your undivided attention to your child, you are filling his/her love tank.

3. Ensure that you meet your child's needs. 

Biting can be a sign of frustration. Your child's irritability can stem from hunger or tiredness. Keep track of the tell-tale signs that your child is feeling discomfort or irritability. Address the need even before your child feels so frustrated that he/she has the urge to bite someone or something.

4. Stick with your routine. 

Maintain the daily routine so your child will thrive and be less cranky.  If there's a shift or change in the routine, give your child the heads up to help him/her adjust.

5.     Encourage your toddler to use his/her words to describe his/her feelings.

Teach your child the words to use to describe his/her feeling.  In this way, he learns to verbalize and express emotions through words.

6. Distract your child.

If you see that your child is feeling the urge to bite, you can redirect his/her attention by stepping out of the room or reading a book. As he gets older, you can teach him how to help manage his/her emotions.  Get practical tips from our blog post,  How to Teach Kids to Self-Regulate Emotions.

7. Read books to your child.

There are toddler picture books that can help your child stop biting. Here are some examples.

·       Little Dinos Don't Bite by Michael Dahl

·       No Biting! By Karen Katz

·       Teeth Are Not For Biting by Elizabeth Verdick

·       People Don't Bite People by Lisa Wheeler

·       No More Biting for Billy Goat by Bernette Ford and Sam Williams

What to Do When Toddler Bites

A young mother talking to her sad toddler son inside in a bedroom.

1. Calmly talk to your child.

You may feel strong emotions of unhappiness, anger, frustration, shame, or worry when you can't seem to stop your child from biting or may feel embarrassed when your child hurts another child.  When you talk to your child while you are feeling angry or frustrated, you may end up shouting or saying hurtful words to your child.  Calm yourself first before you speak to the child because yelling may aggravate the situation.   You may end up scaring your child or reinforcing the biting habit because of your extra attention.

2. Be firm.

Tell your child that biting is not right and that it can hurt other people.  Help your child understand the relationship between cause and effect.

3. Acknowledge the feelings of your child. 

Practice empathy when you deal with your child.  Remind yourself that your child is still learning to regulate his/her emotions.  While the child may be feeling frustrated over what an adult may see as a petty thing, his/her feeling is valid and real.  You can acknowledge your child's emotion by naming it when you talk to him/her.

4. Check on the person that had been bitten.

Check on the child that was hurt.  Showing genuine concern is a good action to model to your child.  Your child will also realize that biting will not get him/her extra attention.

5. Do not hit or bite back. 

Responding with aggression can only teach your child that it is okay to hit or bite.

Biting for some kids is a phase that they can outgrow through the parent's support.  However, some kids may retain their biting habits beyond toddler age.  If you have concerns about your child,  talk to your doctor to get medical advice.

Did you find our blog post helpful?  Send us your feedback in the comments section below. 

Tiny Steps

We play, learn, and grow with children.

Get free updates

Want parenting and nanny care hacks delivered straight to your inbox? Fill out this form:

No comments

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ready to find a great sitter?