10 Discipline Strategies that Curb Biting

Stop Kids From Biting
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Biting is a common behavior among toddlers and some preschool children. It doesn’t mean your child is bad or that he has a behavior problem. Instead, it means there’s an issue that needs to be addressed to stop the behavior from continuing. Here are 10 strategies to curb biting:

1. Avoid labelling your child as a biter. Saying things like, “Be careful, he’s a biter!” when you take your child to a play group won’t be helpful.

In fact, kids often live up to their labels.

2. Don’t bite your child back. Unfortunately, lots of parents try to curb biting by biting their child back. But corporal punishment doesn’t teach skills to help them behave better in the future. Instead, it sends a confusing message about biting.

3. Observe the triggers that lead to biting. There are several reasons why kids bite and careful observation can help you uncover the possible reasons why your child is biting. While some kids bite because they’re overstimulated, others bite out of self-defense. Learning what causes your child to bite can help you create environmental changes that will reduce further incidents.

4. Keep your child’s schedule consistent. Overtired and anxious kids are likely to struggle with impulse control. Keep your child’s schedule as consistent as possible so she knows what to expect. A regular routine can reduce a lot of stress and decrease incidents of biting.

5. Speak calmly but firmly. Say to your child, “No biting. Biting hurts.” Send a clear message without lengthy or complicated explanations. Avoid yelling, as it can make the problem worse.

6. Pay attention to the victim. Attention – even when it’s negative – can inadvertently reinforce misbehavior. So make sure to give the majority of your attention to the victim.

This will show that biting is not an effective means to gain adult attention.

7. Remind your child of the rules. Create clear household rules that include a, “No biting rule.” There should also be a, “No hitting rule.” Talk about how hitting and biting hurt other people’s bodies, as well as their feelings.

8. Teach your child how to use her words. Teach simple words that will prevent your child from biting. For example, if a child is biting out of self-defense, teaching her to say, “No!” or “Stop!” can help her respond to other children with a new tactic. Rather than biting if someone tries to take her toy, she can practice using her verbal skills.

9. Monitor your child’s activities closely. Prevention can be the most effective solutions to biting. If your child tends to bite when she feels frustrated, intervene each time you notice her frustration growing. Or, if she bites when she’s overstimulated, look for signs that she’s getting overly excited. Removing your child from the situation or changing the environment can prevent a lot of problems before they start.

10. Avoid shaming your child. Saying things like, “You’re a bad girl,” won’t deter biting. Shaming children isn’t an effective discipline strategy. In fact, trying to make kids feel bad about themselves will only backfire. Kids who feel bad about themselves are less likely to follow the rules.

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