Sunday, October 25, 2009

Toddlers Biting - Stop the Biting Without Biting Back

By Jake Long

If you have experienced toddlers biting then I am sure you have heard the advice, 'Just bite them back!' I heard that so many times it made me sick! Seriously, I do not want to bite my child. I do not want to teach him that biting harder or by a bigger person is the solution. There has to be a better way, right?

Toddlers Biting - Could Be A Symptom. Your child is not going to be able to tell you adequately why they bit someone - not unless the biting happened in a much older child. But we are talking about toddlers. Don't bother asking them why they did it. There is no good answer here. Be a detective! Here are just a few possible reasons:

* They wanted to play with a toy or object someone else was playing with.

* They got hurt by someone

* They were seeking the attention of a loved one.

The list above is just a starter so don't get lazy. You have to figure it out for your own child. You need to know what motivates them to do the biting. It will go a long way in helping them stop.

Focusing On the Cause

By understanding the why of the biting you can better approach your child with a solution. If they wanted a toy - does your child have a way of communicating that? Do they have words to use or are they frustrated because they have no idea how to ask? If other children the same age are using words to ask, you may want to consider a quick local screening for speech delay. With the right resources your child can catch up before school starts and be WAY better off! Mine sure was (he was a biter and had a speech delay - now he reads a grade level above his current grade)

Parenting = Teaching NOT Talking

Don't just stand there and talk till you are blue in the face. Give your toddler some specifics and get them to practice your new methods. Practice makes progress!

Encourage Positive Behaviors

Be aware of what your child does well. Make sure that you can see the signs of a biting about to happen. When you see it happening, intervene. Get them to do something else or remove them from the situation. Stopping a biting is much easier if you can catch it prior to the initial speedy lunge!

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