Biting in Toddlers

By Lauren Goeke

October 28, 2020

If your toddler is biting, know that you aren’t alone! Toddlers are more likely to bite for so many reasons, they don’t know how to handle all their big feelings yet. It’s our job as parents to help teach them appropriate ways to manage their big feelings.  Here are some ideas of ways to help your child through situations that make them more likely to bite.

  1. Teething. If your toddler is teething providing cool snacks/teether toys to comfort their painful gums. My kids would enjoy a pacifier or teether toy after being cooled in the refrigerator. You can make homemade popsicles with your kids for a fun activity and a way to soothe their gums.
  1. Hungry. If it’s been a while since your toddler ate try a snack. Something crunchy or with another texture that can focus your curious toddler’s attention. We love fruit leathers, crunchy crackers, or cool yogurt for fun snacking options.
  1. Tired. If your little one is tired you can offer a rest, a calming activity, and extra hugs/snuggles. Try to pay extra attention to their behavior for early redirection of behaviors when your toddler is tired since they may be more cranky and likely to act out. For calming activities, my boys always love the sensory bottles you can make with rice or oil/food dye. Another fun activity to do together that you can make to your kid’s interests and helps calm them.
  1. Frustrated. If your toddler is frustrated you may have to remove them from the situation or have a time out for inappropriate behavior. Redirect behavior that isn’t positive by acknowledging what they’re feeling and finding an alternative choice. We find ways to work off their energy and be silly. You can start an animal movement and sound game which burn some energy and have everyone giggling. My boys love to pop packing bubbles and jump on their mini-trampoline.
  1. Attention Seeking. Some toddlers will bite to get your attention. It’s important to stay calm at that moment and redirect their behavior. Then focus on using positive reinforcement when they make good choices, this will encourage them to do more of those positive behaviors for your attention. Find activities that make them feel successful and you can give them praise for that too.

With all these tips on ways to avoid biting there will be a time when your toddler tries to or does bite someone. Try to remain calm and tell your little one, “That hurt. Teeth aren’t for biting” then redirect your child to an activity that is okay to do with their teeth or distract with another activity.

Remember that at The Mama Coach, we are here for you! Reach out to your local Mama Coach for support with your little ones or for yourself. You got this Mama!

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