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Help! My Toddler is Biting

FIRST:

Make sure there is no underlying condition like a speech delay, a developmental delay, SPD, or just teething and gum sensitivity.


THEN:

Understand that this is a normative and common behavior in toddlers, nevertheless it is absolutely not acceptable, and should be taken care of - the sooner the better!


HOW?
  • By teaching my child about SELF-REGULATION – As a parent I should always try to model self-regulation, and therefore will not scream, or get very angry, when she bites (Just a firm “no” or “no biting”).

  • Biting might express a need of CONTROL – Does my child has enough control in her life? Allow and encourage her to make a lot of CHOICES on a daily basis.

  • Is my child getting enough POSITIVE ATTENTION from me? Am I filling her “cup” with time, love, affection and encouragement? (Or am I just giving negative attention around the misbehaving?)

  • Observe your child and try to understand WHEN and WHY she is biting – Is it when upset, or happy, frustrated, tired, hungry, in kindergarden, at home, at the playground….? If you do understand the pattern, try to do something about it beforehand, or to change something in the routine.

  • Teach your child how to express, and name, needs and feelings.

  • Always attend and give attention to the “victim” first (to the child that was bitten).





NEVER:
  • Label your child as a “biter” – Children learn who they are through our eyes, so this would be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Bite, hurt back or punish – You cannot teach a child to not use violence by being violent yourself.


If you have tried all of the above and biting is still persistent, you are welcome to reach out to receive individual counseling and a personal plan of action.
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