Toddler biting is frustrating but learning why it is happening and how to deal with toddler biting will help you quickly eliminate the behavior.
Is Your Toddler a Biter?
I never really had a toddler that was a biter. I had heard people saying that their toddler was a biter and I would always think to myself, “How?”
Now that Tony has become a toddler, I am a firm believer that every family has a biter! He has a way to just sneak up behind you and bite you. As a parent it is embarrassing and it hurts when your toddler bites.
How do you stop your toddler from biting and why are they biting? Find out the answers to these questions and more importantly how to stop toddler biting!
Why Your Toddler is Biting
Learning how to stop your toddler from biting starts with learning why toddlers bite.
When I was learning how to deal with toddler biting, I first looked at WHY they were biting. There are various reasons why your toddler is biting others.
4 Reasons Why Toddlers Bite
To get attention.
Seeking attention is one of the number one reasons for toddler biting. Biting causes an immediate reaction so if your child wants attention, biting is a sure way to get it.
To express feelings.
Toddler biting is often used as a way to express feelings of fear, anger, and frustration.
Toddlers have big emotions! Your child is trying to learn how to manage their emotions. When they can’t find words quickly enough, they use biting.
Your toddler could be using biting as a way to tell you “Pay attention to me” or “I don’t like that!”
Teething starts early in infants but continues well through toddlerhood. Just like any new toy that your child wants to play with, they want to try out their new teeth! Which is why they try out their new teeth on you or someone else.
Biting can also help relieve pain in your child’s gums.
Exploring new objects.
Young children love to explore new objects with their mouths. Putting everything in their mouths can lead to your toddler biting others.
How to Stop Toddler Biting
When toddler biting happens, it can be easy to freeze and feel helpless. Not knowing what to say or do can leave you feeling powerless in the situation. Learning how to react to toddler biting can help empower you to deal with toddler biting.
Be calm but firm.
Toddler biting means you have to react quickly. Make sure to enter the situation as calmly as possible. Remaining calm will help you explain in an even and firm tone of voice. The last thing you want is to add more big emotions to the situation!
Explaining can help your child realize that biting is wrong and learn how to fix it. Make sure to tell them that biting is wrong and that it hurts the other person. Explaining will help them see how their biting affects others.
Offer alternative ways to express themselves instead of biting. You can teach them how to say short words like “no” or “stop”. Or phrases like “No, I don’t like that”, “Please stop”, or “That’s mine”.
Next time, your child can use these words and phrases instead of engaging in toddler biting!
Toddlers are still easily distracted so you can quickly redirect them. Use a distraction to get them engaged in a positive activity. I always like to have them dance, color, or play a game!
Considering different questions when toddler biting occurs can help you see a pattern. Ask these questions:
- What happened right before the bite?
- Who is your child with?
- Is it the same child bit or was it a different child?
- What was your child doing?
- Where was your child?
Once you see a pattern you can avoid situations that provoke child biting. Or you can find specific solutions to fit the situation.
Provide relaxing activities.
Providing relaxing activities can prevent toddler biting from happening again. Give them something relaxing like playdough, foam balls, bubbles, or play soft music.
Read books about biting.
Reading books about toddler biting opens up a perfect opportunity to have a conversation. While you read books about biting you can talk about how the characters may be feeling.
Offer something that they can safely bite or chew.
Your toddler may be biting because they are teething or want something in their mouth. Offer them something they can safely bite or chew like a cracker, carrot sticks, or a teething toy.
Use a schedule.
Creating a Toddler schedule helps your child feel comfortable and gives them consistency. Kids thrive on knowing what will happen next!
Fewer surprises during the day can mean fewer surprise bites from your toddler!
Discipline should be predictable and consistent. When disciplining toddler biting you can use time out. One rule I like is to place them in time out for one minute for every year they have. So my two year old would be in time out for 2 minutes.
After time out I always make sure to give them a hug, go over why they were in time out, and then move on with our day!
To be consistent, make sure to use the same form of discipline every time your toddler bites!
Now you know how to stop toddler biting! Comment some of your favorite toddler biting tips.