Toddler Biting Behavior – How To Nip It In The Bud
Hi all, Zoe here.
Now we all know that toddler biting incidents are way out of the normal expected and accepted toddler behavior.
These incidents although quite rare, are extremely emotional for all concerned, not least you, also your toddler, the victim and the victim’s mother or father.
To begin with we are unlikely to know the exact triggers for all toddler biting behavior, but child psychologists along with parents who have experienced and had to deal with toddler biting first hand, have compiled many lists through the years of do’s, don’ts, theories of possible triggers as well as possible cures to benefit us all.
Armed with knowledge we can combat the toddler biting problem before it really has a chance to take hold and grow into anything more embarrassing or dangerous.
I have listed six of (what I think are) the most important ways to fight this biting behavior in your toddler.
Remember that this is something you can’t just ignore hoping it will go away, it has to be tackled and tackled firmly.
Be resolute in your actions:
Hopefully you will be able to cope a little better once reading my top tips below.
Teaching your toddler basic words from a very early age is advisable;
- “thank you”
and so on.
These things are connected ‘not only’ to toddler biting but ways to avoid the many dangers that the world has to throw at them, they will ensure your toddler’s safety and a well mannered, well balanced upbringing.
Sign language is an alternative if your child is still too young to speak or understand.
2) Give space:
Separate your toddler from any situations you see as main trouble causes.
Look for any regular trouble indicators, you will eventually recognize them all and be able to act accordingly, before things get to the biting stage.
Intervene immediately you see toddler biting behavior rearing its ugly head.
Give the behavior a label “that’s biting” and “that’s bad”.
Express your disapproval very firmly, and rapidly remove the toddler from the situation.
3) Decide on a consequence:
If toddler biting behavior continues, you will need to decide on an appropriate consequence and make sure it’s clearly understood by all.
For example; you could set a short timeout period, or you could go home if you’re out.
Once again you need to be firm and positive.
If you can, stick to a similar consequence each time your toddler bites.
The biting toddler needs to understand that you are not going to back down, and that you are annoyed with what they are doing.
4) Fuss the victim:
So, try to focus your concern and attentions on the victim whilst making sure that your toddler is seeing it, and taking it all in.
- “I’m sorry”.
- “Ah you poor thing”.
- “Does it hurt”.
- “Can I help you”.
Not only are you teaching your toddler how to be sympathetic but you will be lavishing attention on the injured party, the one who really deserves it.
5) Keep your toddler occupied:
Offer activities that greatly involve the use of the senses.
Physical activities – soft dough, sand and water, coloring, making music.
Allow your toddler to assist you with a cake mixture or supervised domestic chores such as dusting, washing dishes etc.
The main objective here is to minimize their frustrations which in turn will lesson the risk of a toddler biting incident.
6) Stay Calm:
Don’t feel bad if you have already lost your temper once or twice with your toddler.
It’s a very natural thing for any parent to over-react to begin with.
Because we all perceive our own toddlers to be absolute angels, we are shocked out of this belief by toddler biting behavior.
This said, spanking, erupting in anger, biting the toddler back to show how much it hurts, are all very counter productive ways to deal with what is happening.
You are your toddler’s role model.
Teach them the behavior you expect to see, count to ten, and take some deep breaths, stay calm.
They will be learning from your reactions and you will be able to handle the situation much better without the anger taking hold.
Dealing with the other parents:
Don’t feel too embarrassed if your toddler is a biter, many parents have been in the same possition as you are now.
Try to be open and honest about the problem with friends, relatives and other parents you may come into contact with.
You will be given more understanding and respect this way rather than if you are in denial and or trying to hide it.
Show others that you are taking the necessary steps to put things right and you will find that no straight thinking person will ever judge you down.
Just one more thing:
Set your toddler up for success:
If they seem to have problems with socializing in some situations for example with boys, girls, older kids or younger kids, don’t put them into that particular situation.
Give them the best chances of succeeding by initially putting them into situations where you know they are comfortable and there are no signs of trouble.
Set your toddler up for success:
Show them they are able to socialize and play with others without the need to bite.
As your toddler becomes more comfortable and the biting diminishes, you can gradually re-introduce them to some of the situations that used to challenge them so much.
Ever observant but ever increasing in confidence.
I wish you success.
Best wishes Zoe Schaeffer.
Ps. Come back soon.