Many toddlers go through a biting stage. It typically occurs when a child is between one and a half and three years old. But why does this happen?
Biting, can often be commonplace behavior for a toddler. It doesn’t matter how well the child is parented or how “good” a child is. The incident generally occurs in response to a child’s feelings and the inability for the child to use expressive language. Such as feeling sad, angry or scared. So what can you do about it?
If you child becomes a “biter” there are a few different ways that you can help him through this phase.
Stay Close to Your Child
By staying close to your child, you can step in to intervene and redirect the child before a biting incident occurs. This will also allow you to observe closely and determine if a pattern occurs when the child attempts to bite.
The Power of Positive
Using positive language is very beneficial. This type of communication helps children learn how to verbalize their feelings. For example, you can say “We bite our food, not other people. Biting hurts.” or “Our friends are for playing, not for biting.” You can then remind the child to “play nicely” and “be gentle with your friends.”
There may be a few reasons why a child is biting, but often times it may be because he wants something that his friend has. If your child steals a toy away, get down on his level and say “I see that you are upset and don’t want Johnny playing with your car.” This type of role play allows the child to make a connection between his feelings and his actions. Speak with the child and acknowledge that you understand his feelings, but it is never OK to bite.
Redirect, Redirect and Redirect
Biting can happen once or it can occur several times while teaching the child new ways to express himself. Consistency is key to eliminating any unwanted behavior. By following the tips above and redirecting the child each time, the behavior will subside and hopefully be a thing of the past in no time.
At Five Star Montessori we work closely with parents should your child bite. It is our goal to keep all children safe in our environment. Do you have any additional tips that you’d like to add about helping a child who bites? Feel free to share in the comments below.