After accomplishing her first steps and utterances of “Momma,” your baby has officially entered toddler territory. But accompanying those heart-melting milestones, are some upsetting behaviors. And biting is one of those realities.
Nearly 50% of toddlers in daycares are bitten by another child, according to the American Psychological Association. Even though it’s normal, biting can be scary for everyone involved. Children use biting to fulfill some sort of need. So instead of focusing on the biting, concentrate on the cause(s). Your baby may bite if she is…
Unfortunately for your sanity, teething takes time. Baby teeth emerge around 6-8 months and keep growing until age 2. Second molars—the last teeth to arrive—are often the most painful. Babies may bite because the act of chewing can ease the pain. And your tot’s need for oral stimulation may come in the form of nibbling on a new friend’s arm.
• Feed her stimulating foods with different textures. Try using a pacifier clip to attach a teething ring. Whenever she’s tempted to bite, the ring is always within reach.
Little ones lack language skills, so biting is a way to say, “I’m so mad at you!” or “Give that back!”
• Teach your child to use their words to express how they’re feeling instead of biting. Sharing is one of the most common triggers for biting, so encourage your child to share with other children. One technique is to allot a certain amount of time for each child to play with a specific toy and use a kitchen timer to give the children a visual reminder of how long they have left to play with the toy.
When your 2 year old wants to brush his teeth “just like mommy,” imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But when she’s copying a biting playmate, that mantra doesn’t ring as true. Toddlers learn from observation, and by 18 months, are able to imitate other children’s actions.
• Biting is common in daycares and group settings, so make sure to talk to your child’s teacher. She may be able to identify patterns within the classroom.
Remember: Kids’ brains are like sponges to social behavior. Show your toddler the right reactions and eventually his skills will flourish. For more biting advice, visit ChildCareResourcesInc.Org.