What do you do when when you find out that your toddler is starting bite other children? While toddlers are always prone to hurt themselves in their little ventures around the household, many of them use the weapon of their teeth to hurt other children, or even grown ups. Toddler biting is one of the disturbing behaviors that parents or guardians encounter when their children enter the toddling stage. Understanding the causes of this behavior and seeking preventive measures is a primary concern for many parents and caretakers.
Causes of Toddler Biting
First of all, it is important to note that not all toddlers bite. However, the majority of children between one and three years of age engage in some form of biting for various reasons. Developmental psychologists believe that the main reason for toddler biting is the child’s inability to verbally communicate. With language skills still developing, toddlers learn to use their teeth to invoke a response from the people around them.
Frustration can be another reason for toddler biting. If a child is angry, biting may be a way for the child to convey those feelings to another. Toddlers may use their teeth on objects to relieve the irritation of the gums that is caused be teething. Finally, a toddler can use biting as an attention-getting action.
How to Prevent Toddler Biting
Biting among toddlers is important to stop before it becomes a habit that is difficult for your child to break. Toddler biting is also one of the few behaviors that can cause your child and you serious issues in preschool. Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to stop toddler biting before it becomes a habit for your child.
The primary preventive measure against toddler biting will begin with the parent. Show your disapproval for the behavior by telling your child, “No biting!” in a stern voice and removing him from the situation. Repeat this action as often as necessary, until you begin to see an improvement in your child’s responses. If your efforts do not appear to be effective, recruit the help of your child’s caregivers for additional support and consistency. If your child refuses to stop the behavior, you can consult a behavioral psychologist for other ideas.
If you give all your attention, no matter how disapproving, to the offending toddler, you are likely to strengthen the habit of biting. The reason is that your child will quickly learn that biting brings attention. By focusing on the person that your child bites, and showing sympathy to him, you take the attention away from your own child and place it properly on the child who was hurt.
It is very possible that once your tot learns to communicate through other means, toddler biting will no longer present an issue. Once a child can use language to express his feelings, he will not resort to biting when frustrated or angry.
Remember, this is a behavior that needs to be address rather quickly to protect not only your child but other children as well. If you are not able to curb your childs tendency to bite when he or she gets mad or lashes out don't be afraid to ask for help and consult with a profession for ideas and support.