Biting is a very common behaviour among toddlers.
Children bite in order to cope with a challenge or fulfil a need. For example, your child may be biting to express a strong feeling (like frustration), communicate a need for personal space (maybe another child is standing too close) or to satisfy a need for oral stimulation. Trying your best to understand the underlying cause of the biting will help you develop an effective response. This makes it more likely that you will be successful in eliminating the behaviour.
Strategies to Prevent Biting
If you see signs that your child might be on the verge of biting, you can:
Distract your child with a toy or book. Suggest looking out the window or take a walk to another room or outside. The goal is to reduce the tension and shift your child’s attention.
Suggest how your child might handle the situation that is triggering the need to bite. For example: Marcus, you can tell Ana: “You are a little too close to me. I don’t like it when you touch my hair.” If you think your child might be biting due to a need for oral stimulation, offer your child something he can safely bite and chew—a cracker, some carrot sticks, or a teether.
Suggest ways to share. Take out a kitchen timer to give children a visual reminder of how long they can each play with a particular toy. Sharing is one of the most common triggers for biting.
Reading books about biting can also help. As you read, ask your child how the different characters might be feeling. If you have an older toddler, you can ask him to “read” the book to you, by telling you what is happening based on the pictures.
Here are some books which you might like to share with your child…