Why do toddlers bite?
To communicate: Children don’t have well defined communicating skills like adults. Therefore they find it difficult to convey their feelings and end up biting to express their displeasure.
Self protection: Since toddlers are not physically strong, they find biting, hitting as a means to protect themselves when ever they feel anxious or insecure.
Grab attention: When the toddlers feel that the parents/siblings are ignoring them, thy bite people around them. They know this would bring attention on themdelves.
Exploring: Toddlers learn new things by exploring and experiementing. They bite people, things around to learn about the use of teeth.
Teething: When toddlers are teething, they have the urge to bite anyting and everything around them.
Temper: Toddlers may get irritated or unhappy may be due to new clothes, uncomfortable surroundings etc. The only way they can show their temper are by biting and yelling.
How to discipline biting toddlers?
The basic lesson is never to scream at the baby on biting anyone. Also, not to strike or bite the baby back to show the pain of biting. Babies would never understand this behaviour of their parent’s. They might get frightened by the noise and the commotion.
Instead, the parents must make an attempt to find out the reason for baby biting. It could be someone disturbing or irritating the baby, uncomfortable surroundings, too much noise etc. If possible parents must solve the baby’s problem or move the baby away from the scene before the baby could bite anyone.
Baby’s body language is a good indicator of the mood. If the baby is troubled or angry, the parents must try to divert the attention and calm down the child. Otherwise, the toddler would end up biting the people around.
Teaching baby other means to express themselves would help to reduce biting. The baby could be taught to express love and affection through hugs, kisses or gently touching the cheeks.
When the baby bites someone then the victim should be given attention, hugged, kissed, touched and not the baby. This will make the baby understand biting will only not bring attention.
When parents want to speak words of discipline to the baby, they must look in the baby’s eye and speak.
Parents’ must not playfully bite baby’s toes, fingers as the children always try to emulate the parents.
These are some of the basic techniques to curtail biting behaviour in baby. For more ideas parents could read books that advise teaching the babies to communicate their anger and feelings. Practising these techniques would certainly yield good results.