When babies begin to explore the world around them, everything goes in the mouth. Tasting, chewing and biting are normal behaviors during this period of oral exploration. Biting may also help to relieve teething pain.
Provide teething infants with a variety of textured toys and freezable teething rings to satisfy their need for oral stimulation and soothe teething pain. If your baby takes an experimental bite of brother’s finger, say “no biting” firmly and offer an appropriate toy.
Why Toddlers Bite
Most children outgrow biting as they leave the oral stage, but biting is still common during the toddler years. Biting can be an instinctive response of self-defense, anger, frustration or fear in toddlers still struggling to develop self-control and language skills. But biting can also be an attempt to control other children, a sign of emotional overload or a bid for attention.
How to Discourage Biting
Biting is an upsetting and potentially harmful behavior that should be discouraged from the start. Use these tips from our experienced child care staff to discourage your child from biting:
• Prevent biting by stepping in when disagreements erupt and reminding toddlers to “use your words.” Model the words you want children to use to express their feelings. (“I am still playing with the car; please give it back.”) Reinforce positive behavior.
• When biting occurs, tell the child calmly but firmly: “No biting. Biting hurts. I can’t let you hurt anyone.” Take the child aside to reinforce the message and model the words he should use in the future to describe his feelings and respond to similar situations.
For more child behavior tips, talk to your child’s Horizon Education teacher.