If you find your toddler leaving a trail of teeth marks in their wake, you may be feeling a little mortified. The truth is though, it’s relatively normal for young children. Biting in no way means that your toddler is a bad child that will grow up to have terrible behavioral problems, so don’t worry. There are several reasons that your toddler may be biting, and the truth is, there are ways to encourage them to stop.
Why Toddlers Bite
If you have noticed that your toddler has started biting others it could very well be caused by overwhelming emotions, they are feeling.
Biting usually happens when kids are feeling distressed or frustrated and they aren’t sure of how to calm or soothe themselves. At this age, children are likely to find whoever is closest and chomp down.
How to Stop Your Toddler from Biting
Look for cues that your toddler is about to bite, this can be done by assessing your little one’s triggers as they happen. The best thing you can do to encourage your child to stop biting is to take them out of the situation before it escalates, and they start biting. Take your little one somewhere quiet to allow them to calm down.
When your toddler bites, make sure to use firm and simple language to discourage future encounters. Explain to them that it hurts others and that it’s not ok. Stick to your guns and let your little one know their actions are not ok.
Help them Express Themselves
After a biting incident, once things have started to calk down, try to help your little one find a less aggressive way to express themselves. If you find that your child bites out of anger or defense, show your child how to express their feelings through verbal cues or hand motions. Make it extremely clear that if they are angry, you will be there to help them before they resort to biting.
Praise for Positive Choices
Observe your child making positive choices and ensure you vocalize your appreciation for them. If your little one is playing well with another, tell them how proud of them you are that they are playing so well.
Stick to an action plan. Although it may seem difficult, you need energy, attention, support, and consistency. These methods aren’t hard, but they do require determination and planning. Make sure all your child’s caregivers are on board because if your toddler is getting mixed reactions to their behavior, they are less likely to respond properly.
If your toddler is biting, it’s not the end of the world but it does need to be nipped in the bud as soon as possible. Just make sure you understand what is fueling their biting episodes, intervene when possible, remain firm, praise them for positive behavior and stick to an action plan.