Why Does My Child Bite?
One of the most common questions we get asked at Alphabet Treehouse is why children bite. Parents are often unfamiliar and concerned with this type of behaviour. Below we discuss some of the reasons why biting occurs, usually around the toddler stage (12-36 months).
- Teething: Biting something or someone helps soothe their pain
- Expression: Biting gives babies the opportunity to express his/her emotions
- Boredom: Children need to be stimulated at all times, so when a child finds him/herself bored or less stimulated they resort to biting
- Attention: child enjoys the attention they are receiving when they bite or hurt somebody THIS IS WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO ADDRESS THE BITING SITUATION APPROPRIATELY
- Sensory exploration: babies learn about their surrounding world by using their senses
Although it’s important to teach our children that biting is not okay, it’s equally important at the same time, to observe and recognize why they are biting.When children continue to bite, an observation sheet is useful to record information whenever a biting incident occurs.The gathered information is used to analyse when and why the child bit thus prepare a plan for them to stop biting.
- Provide a selection of teething rings, frozen wash cloths or toys the child can chew on to relieve the pain and itchiness
- Adapt baby sign languages to communicate with the child. When children cannot express their needs verbally, it is sometimes effective if you teach them how to express certain words in simple baby sign languages
- Prepare activities: Identifying what the child’s interest is very important as it will enable you to keep them stimulated and use their high leveled energies
- Give praise and encourage positive behaviour when they are not biting. Showing what gentle gesture looks like can help children to distinguish what is rough behaviour and what is not. E.g. giving a hug or a gentle kiss
- Reading story books together about biting and emotions is another fun way to teach children about positive behaviour and biting.
Biting behaviour is not something that can be fixed in one go. It requires persistence, patience, and love. Ensure that educators at your infant/toddlers childcare observe your child’s biting patterns and have an effective and consistent method of dealing with biting situations as yourself. Take this time as an opportunity to learn more about your child and grow a stronger bond.