Your toddler just bit another child at daycare, and you just got the news. And now your thoughts are racing: Are the children safe? What would cause my kid to bite somebody? Have I done something wrong? What could possibly be wrong with him/her? Is it reasonable for me to be concerned? In this article, find out how you can properly respond to your child biting other kids.
Unwind and take a deep breath. Infant and toddler biting is a typical stage of development. The outcomes for children who bite are not predetermined. If your kid bites, you shouldn’t feel bad about it. However, it’s important to address biting in toddlers quickly and appropriately to help ensure the behavior stops.
Preschoolers are discovering the world, forming their first relationships, and finding their voices. If you can figure out why your toddler is biting, you can take steps to prevent it.
Is there a developmental reason why toddlers start biting?
There are many causes of toddler biting, but they can be broken down into four broad categories.
Biting things to see what happens is how infants and toddlers learn about their environment. When doing so, they sometimes bite down on a human victim. They could bite accidentally or on purpose to see how you react.
Biting one’s lip or cheek is a symptom of a child’s frustration when they are overwhelmed by their environment. They may be jealous of a friend’s toy, feel overwhelmed by the number of people or activities around them, or be bored with their current activity. Little ones who cannot yet put their emotions into words often resort to hitting or biting as a means of coping.
When toddlers feel ignored or want attention, they may resort to powerless biting. When the youngest child in a group is singled out or made to feel unwanted, he may resort to biting to get even with the other kids. Certain infants and toddlers resort to biting to get their caregivers’ attention. The attention itself, positive or negative, can be rewarding.
Biting as a coping mechanism is an indicator of a child’s emotional state, especially during times of stress. Biting is a common coping mechanism for toddlers who are overstimulated, frustrated, or in pain (such as when they are teething).
How to Handle a Biting Toddler: 5 Easy Steps
Biting in toddlers can be distressing for everyone involved, especially the victim. In the first and most pressing step, the kids must be separated. Next, I will go over the five things you should do if your toddler bites you.
1. Talk to the kid who’s doing the biting.
Feelings of frustration, anger, annoyance, embarrassment, and worry are common responses to a toddler’s biting. You should try to keep cool when you talk to your child despite all these emotions. Say, “No biting,” in a loud, resolute tone. It hurts when you get bit. Make sure a toddler can understand what you’re saying.
2. Soothe the kid who was bitten.
As well as showing sympathy and compassion, you should tend to the child’s physical needs, such as cleaning and dressing the bite if it is necessary. Bitten kids often feel more terrified than physically harmed. However, a child’s teeth are so sharp that they can easily puncture the skin, which can lead to the need for medical attention.
3. It’s time to talk to the kid who bit you twice.
Because toddlers don’t always realize they’re causing pain when they bite, it’s OK to console the biting child. In some cases, the biting toddler may try to console the victim. Be wary of giving the child who is biting undue attention to avoid reinforcing the behavior.
Once things have calmed down, you can start teaching your toddler healthy coping mechanisms for when they encounter frustration. You can advise him to speak up instead of resorting to violence. Sayings like “no,” “stop,” and “I don’t like that” give him a voice and allow him to express his displeasure.
Changing the subject or giving them a new toy usually works wonders for toddlers. Take a few minutes to go outside or to a different room with your kid. Try distracting him with a new activity, book, or toy.
Precautions to Take When a Kid Is Biting
A child’s fear and anxiety may increase as a result of being shamed or punished, which may lead to more biting. A time-out may be useful if you are having trouble redirecting a child who bites. Put your kid somewhere quiet where you can keep an eye on him. Time out should last approximately 1 minute every year of your child’s age. For example, if your child is 2 years old, he would spend 2 minutes in time out. Young children do not benefit from longer timeouts.
Some believe that teaching a toddler not to bite by getting bit in return will have the desired effect, but this is rarely the case. Child psychologists do not recommend biting a child to show him how painful it is. But he learns it’s acceptable to resort to biting others when frustrated or angry.
When You Need Assistance
When children reach the age of three or three and a half, they typically no longer engage in the biting behavior that is common among infants and toddlers. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you notice a continued pattern of biting or the emergence of aggressive behaviors like hitting. His doctor may recommend consulting with a child psychologist or psychiatrist. Experts in child development can help you figure out what’s triggering the negative behavior and how to fix it.
Keep in mind that there is no magic bullet, but with your consistent guidance, your child will develop alternative means of expressing his emotions and enjoy playtime once again.
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