How to Stop a Toddler From Biting

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  • 5/1/11
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  • Stopping a Toddler From Biting
    There is nothing quite like a biting toddler to make parents question their child-rearing skills. Biting behavior in young children does not stem from poor parenting, but it does cause considerable pain for its victims and needs to be stopped. Toddler bites usually spring from a child's lack of verbal skills. Biting seems like a good way to express strong emotions or gain attention to some children.

    1. Observe your child carefully. Biting usually follows a certain trigger. When you sense a bite coming on, prepare to prevent it.

    2. Step between the child and victim and tell the toddler gently and firmly, “No. Biting is wrong.” Try not to overreact. A too-strong reaction will encourage the attention-seeking biter. Never bite a toddler in return. You will just teach the biter that such behavior is acceptable.

    3. Remove the child to a quiet location. Gently encourage the toddler to express his or her feelings with words. Toddler bites sometimes spring from an inability to express affection. Show the child that hugs are a more appropriate way to show affection.

    4. If you think your child is biting to gain attention, simply say “no” the next time it occurs and act as a physical barrier between biter and victim. Do not allow the behavior to continue, but do not lavish attention on the biter.

    5. Comfort the injured child, emphasizing that the biter caused another child pain.

    6. If the child is successful in controlling his or her behavior, be generous with praise. If biting continues, seek advice. Toddler biting problems often occur in day care centers and nurseries, and caregivers in these facilities are a useful source of advice.


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    Image Credit: Frédéric de Villamil's
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