How do I deal with a toddler that bites others?
Real Mom Problem
“I am at my wits end on how to stop my toddler from biting. Any ideas? Please help!”
- 1. Biting is a normal stage that toddlers go through
- 2. Toddlers bite for various reasons including, frustration, teething, curiosity, excitement, and lack of language skills
- 3. Determine biting triggers and try to keep things from getting to that point
- 4. Be consistent with whatever discipline you use for biting
- 5. Don't make a fuss; the attention may encourage more of the unwanted behavior
Real Mom Solutions
Unfortunately, biting is a common problem with toddlers. Fortunately, many moms have been in your shoes and have shared helpful advice for dealing with a toddler who bites.
Remember, It's a Normal Stage
Biting is just a stage. She doesn't understand yet that she is hurting anyone with it. You have to exaggerate expressions of pain and sadness when she does it, and then just say, "We don't use our teeth on other people. Teeth are for chewing food, and people are not food."
My daughter was a horrible biter! I tried everything - removing her and doing timeout, light pop on mouth, pop on hiney, biting back, etc... NOTHING worked! She finally out grew it around 3. I had about 2 years of a biter and it was horrible. I'm so sorry! Good luck.
Try These Helpful Tips and Strategies
I would try to watch for signs before he does it and see if perhaps there is a pattern so you can be proactive and stop it before it happens.
When he does it, don't pay any attention to him at all, (he knows it's wrong, you don't have to tell him, he wants any attention from you good or bad) pay all the attention to his victim after he bites and it will probably stop then.
Try to figure out why your child is biting. Is it for attention? Is it for the sensory experience? After you figure out the why, do what you can to prevent it. And after it happens, correct immediately, but don't make a big fuss over it either (big fuss = attention = more of that behavior). Just tell them no, give a consequence if you think it's needed, and move on.
Every time he bites, grab him by the hand and tell him, "We do not bite, biting is not nice." And put him in time out for 2 minutes. Put a timer on for 2 minutes. When the timer goes off tell him, "You went to time out for biting, that's not nice, we don't bite." Be consistent!
My daughter bit me really hard a couple weeks ago. It was caused by a combination of routine change, teething, and frustration. She bit so hard and was pulling, the only way to get her to let go was to tap the side of her mouth. It startled her enough to let go.
Biting Back: Yea or Nay?
I've heard if they bite, you bite them back and see how they like it. My pediatrician even told us that once.
Yes, bite him back. Worked with my son and every kid my old sitter watched too. It seems like it "just clicks" that hey, it hurts and to stop.
Just wanted to say that I never bit my daughter back, and we got over her biting quickly. You don't teach a child not to bite by biting them.
Sometimes all the time needed for the repetition and consistency is a luxury we don't have. If a child is biting a new baby, or is biting other children at daycare or at school, it must be stopped immediately. At this age, they understand the concept of monkey-see, monkey-do. And if what monkey does ends up with them getting bit, they learn really fast not to do that anymore! It's certainly not a teaching tool to pull out for every little thing. But if we want our kids to ever get invited to birthday parties, then we have to nip biting in the bud using whatever tools get the job done.
I am a behavioral therapist for children with developmental delays, and biting is a common behavior. The important thing to remember is that the goal is not to instill fear to quit behavior but to teach appropriate replacement behaviors as well as find common triggers and try to prevent the escalation in the first place. It takes patience and repetition but honestly my final goal is for my child to make his own decisions based on a sense of ethics not fear when he is an adult.