Ouch! Biting Hurts!
Although biting is a normal developmental behavior, it is often seen in infants, toddlers and 2-year olds. Experiencing the effects of biting can be a difficult time for children and their family as they navigate through the ages and stages of childhood development. As children develop effective language skills for communication, gain self-control and develop problem-solving skills, they usually outgrow this behavior.
A Child Might Bite To: (NAEYC)
- Relieve pain from teething.
- Explore cause and effect (“What happens when I bite?”).
- Experience the sensation of biting.
- Satisfy a need for oral-motor stimulation.
- Imitate other children and adults.
- Feel strong and in control.
- Get attention.
- Act in self-defense.
- Communicate needs and desires, such as hunger or fatigue.
- Communicate or express difficult feelings, such as frustration, anger, confusion or fear (“There are too many people here and I feel cramped”).
What Families can do to Prevent Biting:
- Have age-appropriate rules and expectations based on your child’s skills and developmental level.
- Provide your child with communication skills allowing them to express their thoughts and needs.
- Make sure your child has a consistent and predictable routine and schedule.
- Use positive guidance to build your child’s social-emotional skills. “Sara, keep the sand in the sandbox please.” “Tammy, walk your feet in the house.”
- Post your household rules at your child’s level.