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Old 11-21-2012, 08:37 AM
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Lyss Lyss is offline
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Default Biting

Sorry if this is a repeat! I did search for threads about this but just found ones surrounding your policy on biting not necessarily how to handle it.

Recently I've noticed my DD (11mos) has begun biting when she gets frustrated. She hasn't actually made contact with anyone, except her own hand a few times and my knee this morning but she leans forward mouth open trying to bite at whatever or whoever is in her path or frustrating her. I know it's out of frustration and because she can't verbalize what she's upset about.

Any ideas how to help her work on it?

I've had nasty biters in the past, the kind that get to be your buddy all day as they do it so often and break skin but its been years since I've had to deal with it so I feel like I need a refresher.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:55 AM
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This is how I handle biting ... (at home)

Offensive (after or while the child is trying to bite):
If you can stop the child from biting do it gently without a large reaction. Stay as calm as possible. Don't upset the child more than they are already are. Since your child is young and has very limited language simply lower yourself to her level and make eye-contact. Give her a firm "No Bite" and remove her form the activity that she became upset in. Redirect her to another area or activity.

Keep track of what her triggers are. What's upsetting her? She can't put a puzzle piece in the spot that it belongs? Can't reach a toy she needs? Make a mental or written note after each bite or attempted bite to see what is causing her distress.

If she has already bitten firmly but calmy separate her from reach of the person that she bit. If she bit you, hold her at arms length. Firmly but calmy tell her "No Bite". Do not finger shake, it will only add to the stress. Show her the bite and say "You bit me. It hurts and I'm sad" or "You bit her/him and she's crying. It hurts". Tend to the bite and make a show of it. Sooth the person that was bitten while your child watches so that she makes the connection that she herself does not get positive attention but the person that is bitten does. Offer to have her help sooth the person that she bit by bringing and applying an ice-pack, band-aid etc. Remove her from the area/activity that stressed her out and redirect her to something else.

Deffensive (prevent biting):
Identify her triggers. Remove the triggers from your child. If a puzzle frustrates her every time that she plays with it, remove it and try to bring it back again later when she's more skilled or only bring it out when you will be sitting directly with her to assist her with it then put it away once she is done with it. She bites when she can't reach a certain toy, place her toys within her reach. Any other toys that you do not wish her to play with should be put away out of sight and out of reach etc. In other words, remove the child's stressors.

If the child continues to bite even though you removed her known triggers then shadow her at all times. At any time that you cannot directly supervise her (making meals, showers etc) sit her in a high chair and give her a snack or something to occupy her while you are busy (I wouldn't leave her in the high chair for long periods of time). Watch out for behavior that may lead to her biting and correct it before she bites. If she is playing with a toy and she is becoming frustrated ask her if you can help. If she continues to be frustrated remove the toy etc. Calmly sooth her and say simple things like "Nice" and redirect her to something else.


Kids can easily become frustrated, angry, scared, hungry etc which can lead to negative behavior and a lot of the work is identifying and removing triggers. Once you pinpoint what the problem is it's easier to work on correcting biting. Kids bite for many reasons. Yes it's because they have not mastered language however the cause of the frustration is what you need to focus on. What is her schedule and routine like? Is it too busy and she's overstimulated? Does she lack routine and a schedule? Does she tend to misbehave during a certain part of the day? Is she tired? Does she need longer naps? Do her nap times need to be changed? Are there enough toys to keep her busy? Are there too many toys? Is she able to have her own "alone" time? Does she need more interaction? Is she bored? Is there a large change in the home? Did someone in the household recently move in or out? Did her sleeping arrangement change? Did she recently go from a crib to a toddler bed? Did she recently change rooms? Is she hungry? Are her meal and snack times too far apart? Are they too close together? Is there a new baby that is taking your attention? Did you just recently start daycare? etc.
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