It's frustrating for parents when their child is going through a biting phase. But with these tips you can stop your child from biting others.
Ah toddlers! These delightful little humans who make our hearts burst with pleasure and sometimes give us (literal) pain at the same time.
Amidst the tantrums and brave little quests for independence many toddlers insist on, another fun thing they like to do is bite. Usually not their food - but other kids and of course, you, their parents.
Why do they do this and how an you stop this behavior? Let's find out!
Why kids bite
First, we'd like to tell you that biting is a perfectly normal part of a child's development, especially through ages 1 to 3. Little ones may bite for many reasons, such as:
- They are simply exploring their surroundings: Babies often use their mouths to explore what's around them, just like they use their hands. Moms of toddlers and babies - you know how just about anything they pick up goes into their mouths. This is normal and when it happens, the child will usually also bite down on the object (they don't really care if it's a block, or your hand!)
- They're teething: A way little ones can soothe swollen, painful gums that have little teeth cutting through is - you guess it - by biting.
- They want attention: Especially when an older child bites, experts point out that it may be a way of them getting attention - even if this attention is negative.
- They want a reaction: Curiosity and exploration go hand-in-hand. If a toddler bite someone in their quest to discover brand new experiences, and this elicits a shout or a yell, they'll do it again to get the same reaction. They don't really understand that pain is involved too.
How to stop your child from biting
If you understand why your child bites, then it becomes easier to prevent this behavior.
- If your little one is teething, always have a teething ring handy for him to chomp down on, rather than on someone else's arm.
- When your child is old enough to use words to express his emotions, encourage the use of phrases such as, "I'm angry", instead of biting or hitting.
- Avoid instances where you know your child will be cranky by ensuring he has enough rest/food/ drink beforehand. If you are heading out, make sure you have a snack to prevent those 'hangry' tantrums which may involve biting!
- Give your child adequate attention through the day so he doesn't bit just to make you take notice of him. If your child is going through a biting phase, keep an extra close eye on him during playdates or playtime with siblings/ friends.
More tips to keep in mind
While it's true that biting is a normal part of some kids' development, it doesn't mean you should condone, or ignore this behaviour.
When your child bites, tell him firmly, "No! We don't bite others!" Explain as best as you can that it hurts the other person. If your child is very upset, remove him from the situation until he calms down.
Also, it's best to ignore traditional advice that you should bite a biting child. If an adult bites a child back, the child is just going to think this behavior is normal and continue with it. Neither should you physically punish a biting child.
If biting persists in your child beyond the age of 4 or 5, then it's best to seek the advice of a healthcare professional.
Those little teeth can be very sharp and might sometimes cause a wound. If this happens, the first thing to do is wash the wound with soap and water.
If the would is deep and is bleeding a lot, it's best to call a doctor to check if medical treatment is needed.
Moms and dads, we hope you found this information useful.
If you have a biting kid, take a deep breath, try out the tips in this article, and tell yourself "this too shall pass!"
This article was originally published on theAsianparent Singapore