Toddler Biting: What To Do And How to Stop It

Photo Credit Pexels: Boy trying to bite other one while playing

Babies and toddlers do the most adorable things. They will give you unexpected hugs, cuddle up with you when they are sleepy, and squeal with laughter when they are in the mood. But as any parent of a small child will tell you, they also do some of the most annoying things. They are constantly babbling, whining, and demanding stuff that they want. They scream in fits of anger if they do not get their way or just bite. Biting is quite common in small children this age, but that is little consolation if your child bites. After all, no parents want their young kids to be considered a threat to the playgroup. And worse yet, young children who are considered biters may get kicked out of daycare centers — a possibility that no working parents want to face. To understand how to stop a toddler from biting, you must first understand why they are doing it in the first place. It is because of the frustration and irritation with the world around them. A toddler cannot process the fact that his needs are not met by himself or by anyone else for that
matter. He does not understand why he cannot get his mother’s attention or why he cannot go on a bathroom trip without any help from her. All he knows is that his demands are not being met, so in an effort to resolve this issue, he tries to manipulate others to be heard and obeyed. Biting is one of the ways that your child can attempt to manipulate you. He will not express himself properly, but he will try to get his way by using force and manipulation — in this case, through biting. You are probably worried that your child’s behavior is going to get worse and that he will go on to be the kid who terrorizes the classroom and gets kicked out of school one day. But you do not have to worry. There are ways to deal with this issue before it becomes an uncontrollable problem. This article will give you some helpful tips on dealing with your child who bites.

Quick Contents

  1. Always Keep Your Cool
  2. You Should Provide Comfort
  3. Teach Children Ways To Express Themselves
  4. Try Timeouts
  5. Model Good Behavior
  6. Distract Your Toddler With a Toy or Book
  7. Search For Patterns
  8. Use Positive Reinforcement
  9. Provide Alternatives
  10. Reading Books About Biting

A child who likes to bite can be frustrating, painful, and test your patience, especially if you have no idea what to do to make it stop. However, you must remember that your reaction will negatively or positively affect the particular situation. There is no single way to stop a small child from biting, so it may need different strategies to control the problem. And here are ways you can try:


Always Keep Your Cool
It is one of the best ways to control a toddler who likes to bite. You should always keep your cool during times of frustration and anger. A kid who is frustrated may tend to bite more than usual. But as you can see, although it will not solve your problem, it can certainly make things less stressful when it happens.


You Should Provide Comfort
You must help your child understand that biting may hurt others. So if your small child bites his siblings or playmates, comfort the victim. If your toddler notices you giving the victim utmost attention, they may eventually understand that biting hurts and does not gain attention or a big reaction. On the flip side, if your young child gets it and becomes guilty upon realizing that they hurt their sibling or friend, you should also comfort them. Still, the main focus should be on the victim, and you can tell the biter that their bad actions hurt someone.

Photo Credit Pexels: Boy hugging a woman while crying

Teach Children Ways To Express Themselves
Children who like to bite usually do not express their feelings very well. In other words, they cannot express their anger and frustration through words, so they resort to biting. You can teach them proper ways to express themselves instead of hurting others. You can teach them to use words to express their wants and needs, like, “I want milk” or “I want to go outside.” You can also train your child to tell playmates “stop” or “no” when things don’t go their way.

Try Timeouts
Timeouts are a very effective way to handle a child who likes to bite. You should place them in a safe setting and wait for them to calm down before you go back to them. It is usually used as punishment for unwanted behaviors like biting but is also incredibly effective on some kids. As far as how long a child should stay in timeout, a recommendation is one minute every year. A two-year-old toddler would have a 2-minute timeout, whereas a 4-year-old child would have a 4-minute timeout. You must remember that timeouts don’t have to be considered a form of discipline. They are a way to take the toddler away from certain situations that lead to biting and calm their feelings.


Model Good Behavior
As adults, we are supposed to set good examples for our children. Parents know that kids learn a lot by observing how they act when they are around. You must help your child learn appropriate behavior by showing it to them. When children do something like snatch someone’s toy, gently say, “I don’t really like that,” while redirecting your children toward better behavior.

Distract Your Toddler With a Toy or Book
There are many distractions a toddler may find helpful in getting them away from the biting situation. You can try distracting your child by reading a book or giving them a toy.


Search For Patterns
As parents, you must always be on the lookout for patterns when it comes to your toddler. If you are able to find a pattern and see when your child tends to bite, it will be much easier for you to control. For example, if your kid bites when they are tired. Then you can cut playtime short if your kid shows signs of fatigue. The pattern may be that your kid bites at a certain time of day or after he is given a certain toy, children bite a particular person, or whenever they feel huge emotions. Understanding what precedes the bite can help you deal with the reasons before the biting starts.


Use Positive Reinforcement
Once your child stops biting, it is best to reward them. All kids love rewards and praise, so use a combination of both when possible. You should make them feel proud of themselves for having been able to control themselves from doing something that hurts others. Praise their good behavior whenever you see it and give your child lots of encouragement and other kinds of rewards for having stopped biting. It could be anything from their favorite bedtime story to getting to watch TV for an extra half hour or earning some extra toys or candy.

Photo Credit Pexels: Woman discussing with her child


Provide Alternatives
Instead of biting, you can teach your child how to act and express anger in a positive way. For example, if you feel that your child is upset because they want something. You can offer them a fidget toy or a snack instead of biting people or things. It is both safer and easier for the other people involved.

Reading Books About Biting
Kids love books, so it is not an overstatement that reading some books about biting may help them with the situation. There are a variety of different books that kids have found helpful when it comes to stopping biting. Some of them are:
● No Biting, Louise by Margie Palatini
● Teeth Are Not for Biting by Elizabeth Verdick
● No Biting by Karen Katz


Being able to stop your kids from biting is important. We know that some of the options mentioned above may not work for you and your child. But one thing is for sure, all children are different and respond differently to different methods. So you should try what you think works best for your particular situation. All we can do is help, and we hope that our tips will help you find a solution.

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Andrea Gibbs

I'm Andrea Gibbs Born, raised, and still living in New York. I'm a work-at-home mom with a background in business development, strategy, and social media marketing. I'm a blog contributor at Baby Steps Daycare in Forest Hills, New York to motivate and educate other parents about how they can get their children ahead of the game in school.

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