Baby Biting

You may find that your toddler suddenly develops the urge to bite their playmates. When this occurs, you may feel like you need to discipline your child so that biting does not become a regular habit, but what level of punishment is appropriate for a child this young?

It is normal for children between 1-3 ages to start biting as they develop, though this behavior could have a variety of different reasons. In most cases this is a phase that your child will outgrow. Some may want to see what kind of reaction they can get from different types of behavior, while others may be more prone to biting because they are teething.There are plenty of ways to dissuade your children from biting people or things around them if you find this behavior inappropriate.

The Reason for Baby Biting

1. Teething

It is possible that your child is not biting to cause others pain but because they are teething and hoping to get relief from gums that are swollen from teething. In this case, provide your child with something cold such as a teething ring to chew on. It can help to provide them with something more appropriate for this need. If your child is not teething and does not seem anxious, it is important to make it clear that biting is inappropriate before it becomes a habit.

2. Other Reasons for Baby Biting

Toddlers are very curious, so they may simply be looking to see what reaction their behavior will bring out in others. They might also be using their mouths to explore the world around them and do not have the control to resist the urge to bite. Some children may be frustrated and looking for a way to express themselves because they lack the mechanisms to relate their feelings. They may also hit or make excessive noise for the same reason. In some cases your child may bite because they are craving attention. In this case you will need to make it clear that this behavior is inappropriate, so it will not continue.

What to Do When Your Baby Bites

1. Keep Your Feelings in Check

You may be frustrated or embarrassed by this behavior and these feelings are normal, but letting your feelings guide your actions can cause you to make decisions you might regret. Take the time to collect yourself, so you can decide what course of action will work for you.

2. Avoid Yelling and Be Firm

Tell them they should not bite in short, clear language. Show them the consequences of their behavior; perhaps pointing out someone they have hurt canhelp them understand why biting is not acceptable.

3. Focus on the Person Who Was Bitten

Negative attention that is paid to a child biting others will still reinforce the behavior. If you focus on the child that was hurt, it will help to indicate that your child will not get attention for negative behavior. It will also help them to learn to sympathize with someone who was hurt.

4. Talk About Consequences

If your child is able, give them advice on how they can use their words instead of biting to manage similar situations in the future. Tell them that if they are frustrated or need help they can always come to you for help.

5. Move On

Offer up other activities they can use to relax or release their energy such as drawing or a new game. Do not ask your child to play with a child they have just bitten unless both children are comfortable with this.

How to Prevent Baby Biting



Manage discomfort

If your child is experiencing pain from teething, make sure you have other remedies such as cold cloths or teething tools that you can offer. Then they are less likely to bit others.

Pay them attention

Work to give your child attention throughout the day, so they will not resort to negative means to get you to pay attention to them. If your child tends to bite others, stay nearby so you can quickly step in if they appear to be getting agitated.

Encourage them to use words

If your child is using biting as a means of managing situation, encourage them to manage frustrating by expressing themselves. You can also offer activities such as punching a pillow to help them vent their frustration in a healthier way.

Avoid irritating situations

If you know certain situations tend to provoke negative behavior from your child, work to avoid these. Bring snacks if your child gets restless when hungry and make sure your child is well rested before bringing them to play with others.

Praise them for good behavior

If you witness moments where your child is behaving well when they play, go out of your way to offer generous amounts of praise. Be specific and say what part of their behavior you appreciate instead of offering generic statements such as “good boy”, which will not help them direct their behavior appropriately.

 More Tips on Stopping Baby Biting

1. Avoid Negatives

Try to avoid negatives when you are trying to change your child’s behavior because they have trouble understanding these concepts. Focus on offering positive reinforcement for good behavior rather than offering a great deal of attention for biting. The more attention they receive, positive or negative, the more it will work to reinforce a certain type of behavior.

2. Be Persistent

Work to be persistent with any techniques you implement to help your child learn to stop biting. Make sure other adults around your child know what techniques you are using to alter your child’s behavior and will also help you to keep this plan of action going. If your child is receiving mixed messages or inconsistent discipline, it can be confusing and hinder their progress.

Want to get more information about how to stop baby biting? Check out the video below:

When to See a Doctor

Biting is very common behavior for a toddler that should be phased out with age. However, if your child continues biting or the amount of biting appears to be increasing, it may be helpful to contact a professional. Child development specialists can help you determine why your child seems to rely on biting to express themselves. It can offer some long-term strategies to help correct this behavior so that your child can express themselves in a healthier way.