Grammy Tammy's top 5 tips for dealing with biting
For parents of toddlers, biting is a huge area of concern that causes emotional stress. When moms and dads drop their kids off at daycare, the expectation is that their children will be safe. The last thing they expect is to see a bright, red chomp mark on their child’s skin when they pick them up.
Hearing that your little one has been bitten by another child may seem like the worst feeling in the world…until your child starts biting, which feels even worse. Any parent would be concerned when their child bites or is bitten. Biting is an embarrassing topic, because no parent wants to see their child in pain, much less hurting others.
Here are some suggestions for managing your feelings and child’s struggle when it comes to biting:
- Try your best to understand the underlying cause of the biting. Does the biting occur during a certain time of the day? Does it happen when the child is tired, hungry, or wants some extra attention? Since toddlers lack the verbal skills to express themselves, some bite when they are having trouble expressing their feelings or needs. Even if there isn’t a particular reason why a child bites, being mindful of when or how the biting occurs can help you develop an effective response.
- It’s almost impossible to prevent a child from being bitten. No matter how hard you try to pay attention and stop biting from happening, toddlers will still bite when you are least expecting it. Sometimes children bite others so quickly and unexpectedly that the situation is unavoidable, short of separating the child from others completely.
- If you can't stop the biting, don’t panic. Biting is a common behavior among toddlers. The bad news is there is little you can do to prevent biting from happening, but don’t let this discourage you. The good news is that your child will eventually stop biting. Yelling or punishing a child will not help to end the biting. It's something kids grow out of naturally.
- Remember that children bite for different reasons. Toddlers may not bite with the intent to hurt someone. Just like anybody else, young children want to discover the world around them. This includes the desire to taste everything…even other people. Sure, chewing another kid’s arm isn’t exactly the best way to get to know them, but keep in mind that children don’t know any better at this stage in their development. The best thing to do is encourage your child to use their words and develop their language skills.
- Be patient and respectful. It’s only a matter of time before your child learns to use more appropriate ways to express his or her feelings and needs. The real issue becomes how to handle the biter, the victim, and any upset parents. It's important to remain patient, calm, and respectful towards the other parents and children involved. Whether your child is the biter or the one getting bitten, avoid placing the blame on others and try to imagine how you would feel if the situation were reversed.
Though dealing with biting can be challenging, remember that it’s simply a phase your little one will grow out of in time. As long as you stay calm, cool, and collected, you and your child will get through it together. Be sure to check back for more Grammy Tammy tips!