Why do children bite?
Exploration - The mouth and tongue are used by babies to learn about the world. As they "mouth," lick, or chew, they take in information that goes to the brain. They want to explore everything around them. Most babies explore by putting things or people in their mouths.
Teething - Infants' gums hurt when they are teething. Putting pressure on their gums helps to stop the pain. sometimes they bite a person in trying to stop the pain.
Cause and Effect - Infants around one year of age like to find out what happens when they do something. By biting someone, they may get a loud scream.
Attention - Older toddlers like to imitate others. If they see others biting, they may think that it is okay to bite.
Independence - Toddlers want their independence from others. Biting is a quick way to get others to leave you and your stuff alone.
Frustration - Toddlers may bite because they do not know how to talk well enough to express their feelings.
Stress - A child's world can be stressful. Biting is a way to express feelings and relieve tension.
What can caregivers/parents do when children bite?
Use the Who, What, When, Where, and How method to pinpoint the problem.
- When did the biting occur?
- Who was involved?
- Where did it happen?
- What happened before or after?
- Give the child a clean cloth or a clean teething ring to chew on.
- Change the daily routine to make sure the child is getting enough rest and food.
- Make sure that there are more than two of each toy when there is a group of children.
- Spend more time with the child when he or she is doing more positive things.
- Make everyday life as supportive and normal as possible so that children are not in a stressful environment.
Teach New Behaviors
- When a child bites, use your face and voice to show the child that biting is unacceptable.
- Have the biter help to care for the child that was bitten by helping to wash, bandage and offer comfort.
- When a child is out of control, separate the child until he or she calms down and then talk to the child about his or her behavior.
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