Biting is a habit that is common in toddlers. If your little one is showing a constant urge to bite, you are not the only worried parent out there.
All infants go through the biting phase. Your child is probably biting on toys, pacifier or even your shoulders! While some babies understand that biting hurts and may stop, most babies will continue to do so, even at the risk of getting hurt.
Why Do Toddlers Bite?
Many toddlers bite their nails. This could be due to boredom, habit, stress-relief or curiosity. If your kid bites, but doesn’t injure himself there is nothing to worry about and with time it will go away.
Sometimes, toddlers start biting others. If your toddler is showing similar signs, understanding the reasons will let you help them get off the habit.
Factors Responsible For Biting In Toddlers:
Toddlers are unable to communicate well. Experts believe that emotive outburst or physical aggression are often results of this inability to express feelings appropriately. Misbehavior, tantrums and meltdowns are perfectly normal during the toddler stage, that is, between one and three years of age.
During this age, your toddler has to interact with strangers and learn proper social behavior. Sometimes this may create stress and lead to a meltdown. Instead of panicking about the situation, focus on finding the underlying reasons as to why your toddler needs to bite.
Here are a few common emotional and physical reasons that lead to toddlers biting behavior:
a) Emotional Factors:Sponsored
1. Cause and Effect:
Toddlers are smart. They realize that biting can produce an instant reaction. The most common reason is to get attention. Coping with challenges or difficult activities and may frustrate your toddler and lead to biting. Your child may bite to express feelings of loneliness, jealousy or helplessness.
Toddlers lack the skills to communicate their needs. Biting is the most common way to express anger, frustration and unhappiness. Communicating these strong emotions may often result in toddlers biting other children.
b) Physical Factors:
Your toddler experiences teething during this stage. This is an important reason behind biting. The teeth hurt and itch during teething and toddlers try to chew on something to reduce the tingly sensation.
2. Sensory Exploration:
Toddlers are naturally curious and always eager to explore. They explore the world around them through their senses. Oral stimulation an important way of learning during infancy and continues through this phase. Most toddlers chew or bite on anything they can lay their hands on.
[ Read: Toddler Ear Infection ]
Toddlers are energetic and active. Unable to relax when they need rest, they become hyperactive and try to evade sleepiness. Continuous activity, too much exposure to bright light and sound or being in unfamiliar surroundings can overwhelm a toddler. Watching T.V. for long periods makes kids restless and can end in biting.
What To Do In Case Of Biting?
As a parent, it is natural to feel guilty or angry if your toddler bites. Instead, try and focus on the reasons and help your child come out of it.
1. Reacting To The First Bite:
When your toddler bites for the first time you need a caring and quick response. You can rush her away from the scene firmly but kindly. This conveys a strong message that what she just did is incorrect. With appropriate response your toddler might not repeat the behavior.
- Respond immediately.
- Divert your toddler to another activity.
- Offer her a toy or snack to dissipate a need to bite.
Identifying situations leading to biting is the first step. Pay attention to such situations. With time you will be able to anticipate these episodes. An effective technique is engaging your toddler in the closest possible parallel activity.
The following steps will help you prevent your toddler from biting:
1. Discover Cause And Effect:
Toddlers are possessive about their belongings and don’t like to share.
- Forcing your kid to share can lead to biting.
- Spend time with your kid, decipher her non-verbal communication and give positive attention so that she conveys her feelings correctly.
2. Teach Self-Assertion:
Help your child to express anger or frustration.
- Allow her space.
- If your kid looks upset in an overcrowded room remove her from the place.
- Maintain a consistent routine that lessens surprises.
- Offer options and choices and let her decide what she wants to do.
- This gives her a feeling of self-control and reduces annoyance.
[ Read: Toddler Discipline ]
3. Develop Verbal Communication Skills:
Building verbal communication skills requires patience and diligence.
- Gentle, firm and clear communication helps in instructing toddlers.
- Instead of screaming, convey your reaction softly.
- Your toddler is unable to understand how painful biting is for the victim. Compassionately try to tell her that biting hurts.
4. Teething Tales:
If your toddler is teething provide her something to chew.
- Carrot sticks, cucumber slices or biscuits reduce the teething itch.
- Pacifiers – are all-time problem solvers!
5. Help Her Relax:
Playtime, television time and other activities need to be balanced with a period of rest.
- Create a comfort zone in a peaceful corner of your house where she can relax.
- Get a basket and fill it with objects your toddler likes. You can add musical toys, story books or squishy balls to play. Keep this in the cozy corner.
- Encourage your child to spend time in this place.
- Initially you can help her to unwind and relax.
Some Important Tips:
How to stop a toddler from biting? It is difficult to keep calm when your child bites, but remember:
- Never address your toddler as a ‘biter’.
- Don’t let others label your kid.
- Be compassionate.
If your toddler exhibits biting, don’t get stressed. Experts opine that biting in toddlers, though socially unacceptable, is common. These incidents are not your fault and if your child bites at this young age, he is definitely not going to be a bully.
Patience, compassion and understanding will help your toddler to let go of this habit. A toddler who feels loved, happy and connected will be at peace and is not likely to bite.
Share your ways with us how you dealt biting in your toddler.
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