Parents and Providers Discuss How to Stop A Child From Biting

Ways to Stop Biting Habit

one year old baby gnawing on a chair arm
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Biting is a negative child behavior experienced at most child care settings, whether it be daycare, in-home care, playgroup, preschool or just among siblings. Biting may be common, but it is undesirable, painful and needs to be discouraged before it becomes a permitted habit. So, what can be done about a biting child?

Experts offer several solutions about reasons kids bite and how to stop kids from biting.

However, sometimes the best advice comes from parents and child care providers who deal with biting on a daily basis.

Here are child behavior suggestions and comments received from child care providers:
 

  • * From a provider of a 15-month girl: "She usually does it when she is frustrated so I am her shadow. Sometimes it is difficult to be that shadow, but if I am going to change that behavior I have to be there when she is about to do it. When I do see her about to bite I tell her 'no bite that hurts' in a firm voice not yelling and remove her from the situation. At this age they are still trying to get the concept of hurt. Its a slow process but be persistent. I have seen a dramatic decrease in her desire to bite."

    * "This little girl was biting in defense. The child that was biting was pushing her and cornering her and pulling her hair. The parent doesn't accept that her child would do such a thing and thinks that she is doing that in response to being bitten when in fact it is the other way around."

    * "I found a great book that we read all the time to the ones and twos at our school. It's called Teeth are not for Biting. I got it at an Applebaum Institute training and you can buy it one their web site as well as Words are not for hurting and Hands are not for Hitting. I just bought those two as well. We also give a wet rag tell them it's only OK to bite that. Sometimes it works.....
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Here are child behavior suggestions and comments received from parents:
 

  • * "As a parent, biting is usually experienced at some time within my playgroup, and usually signifies it's time to wrap up. It typically occurs when a toddler is tired, frustrated, or feeling picked on by an older kid. There doesn't seem to be a magical solution to ending biting, as it is usually a younger toddler trying to communicate...in a bad way, of course. We separate ALL the kids and talk about biting with everyone then and there as well as some reasons the toddler might have bitten. It may seem over-simplistic, but it seems to work for us."

    * "Luckily, biting seems to be a short-term phase. Children learn quickly that is never acceptable at any place or time. My daycare and I worked out a strategy that we'd reinforce while my son was there and at home, and it worked. My advice is to get everyone on your side to help teach the same message consistently."

    Updated by Jill Ceder

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