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How do you teach a child NOT to bite?

I am babysitting a 22 month old because he was taken away from his parents by CPS and the grandmother had custody right now. He bites on a daily basis and it's driving me crazy! She told me to bite him back but I'm not going to do that. I would have no problem if if were my child but he's not mine! I have put him in time out but he doesn't seem to care. He can only say maybe 5 words and he is almost 2 yrs old which is CRAZY! My 2 1/2 yr old can hold a conversation! I'm at the end of my rope, I want to help out the grandmother by keeping him but I can't have him leaving bruises and breaking the skin on other children every day. Anyone have any ideas?? I'm not even sure if he understands what I am saying to him. From what I hear, the mom stayed home with him but just let him eat all day (he weighs as much as my 4 yr old) so that he would leave he alone so she could do her drugs. Please advice needed!

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Asked by GOINGCRAZYXXX at 9:41 AM on Jul. 21, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 2 (10 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • The only advice I have is to bite him back to show him that it hurts and he shouldn't be doing it. Or you could put him in time-out which doesn't seem to be helping. Explaining to him what he is doing is wrong may not work if he potentially has a disability or hearing problem (see below). The biting back worked with my kids, but like you said he isn't yours. I can't see myself biting someone else's child either. As far as his weight he needs to get active to help himself be more healthy now that he is away from his mother who was only hurting him. And as far as the speaking he could be hearing impaired.

    Another thought, has he been checked for autism or another disability? If he is acting out in that way, overeats, doesn't speak well, etc... those are signs of autism. It is free to get him checked. Just have the grandmother check with her local DFCS and they should be able to tell her where to go.

    Good luck!

    Answer by Memigen at 9:45 AM on Jul. 21, 2010

  • Look him in the eye say sternly no biting, biting hurts and give him something to bite on, such as a teething toy. Worked witih my kiddos. I would never recomend biting back, that's abuse. IMO

    Answer by buzymamaof3 at 9:47 AM on Jul. 21, 2010

  • Well I agree with you about the not biting him back part, that just teaches him to bite again. I would be consistent and tell him no don't bite and put him in time out. Maybe he has some kind of speech delay since you said that his mother would leave him alone so that she could do drugs, maybe she was using during her pregnancy.

    Answer by cynprz at 9:47 AM on Jul. 21, 2010

  • Just get up and turn your back on him. Show him that he won't get any attention for it. It may have been the only way he could get his mother to pay attention to him! I know you can't have him biting other kids, but biting back has always seemed counter-intuitive to me.

    Answer by at 9:48 AM on Jul. 21, 2010

  • The easiest and fastest way is to redirect him when he goes in for the bite. Put your hand between his mouth and his intended target and say in a very firm voice "NO BITE! That HURTS!" He isn't old enough yet to get the idea that it hurts you when he bites you because it doesn't hurt HIM when he bites you, so biting him back is only cruel to him. You'll get that answer too, ignore it! It's stupid to do that! It will take a little time, but he WILL get it. He is probably frustrated about something else at the time. At his age he doesn't have the words or the ability to express that frustration in another way. Like screaming during a tantrum. Mine was a biter too. She got the idea eventually. But be consistent and he'll get it. Same rules need to apply to his grandma. Tell her about it. She may have a better idea that will work for him. I'm sure he needs some extra care and love. Look where he's been.
    Good luck!!

    Answer by SimplyLaine at 9:50 AM on Jul. 21, 2010

  • dont bite him back.that is just silly, that is like if he hits ... hitting him back and saying don't hit lmao contradiction much..when he hits put his arms down and look at him and say we DO NOT BITE it hurts and is not nice, if he does it again put him in time out, keep putting him in time out every time , after a few times don't say anything to him just put him back into corner or take away his toys one at a time each time he bites, and tell him only good big boys get toys and not hurt people

    Answer by oppsdiditagain at 9:51 AM on Jul. 21, 2010

  • I would say the same thing as the Grandmother, bite him back. The fact that he is a product of a mother that uses drugs, makes it a little bitter harder. But there is a hope. He is just wanting love and needs attention. I have babysat some children that like to bite and tryed everything and the only I found that word was biting them back, and then letting them know that they were loved.

    Answer by TxBlackRose at 9:55 AM on Jul. 21, 2010

  • lol im going to hurt you back by biting you BUT HEY i love you lmao ... ooook

    Answer by oppsdiditagain at 9:56 AM on Jul. 21, 2010

  • i've told my son no and put him in "time out" this was when he was a little younger, at 1. he can now get on and off the couch so it doesn't work i need a new timeout spot..

    Answer by sweet.lil.mama at 9:57 AM on Jul. 21, 2010

  • Another idea..children tend to respond well to praise. Much better than they do to being scolded even. So when he does something nice, praise him with lots of "that's a good boy!" or "How sweet of you to help put away toys!" Telling him (when he bites, not any other time because he won't remember anyway) 'biting is naughty! It hurts!" Always add the it hurts part. Maybe he'll learn that when he is nice and gentle he gets praises and when he bites he gets scolded. Again, it takes consistency and patience. And don't let him bite toys either. Better than another child, but it just reinforces the behavior. Let him bite things that are meant to be bitten.

    I hope you find something that works for both of you soon!!

    Answer by SimplyLaine at 9:57 AM on Jul. 21, 2010

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