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Why does my kid bite!

We've all been there....running late, need to get home and fix dinner, swing into the center to pick up the kiddo and the teacher wants to "talk to you". The teacher tells you there is an issue with JJ, he bit three children today. Immediately you feel like every single person in the center is watching your child. You may even feel like a bad parent....don't! Let me assure you that biting is developmental. Biting is no different than potty training or learning to share. There usually is a reason children are biting and I promise they will outgrow this behavior. Several reasons children bite may be eruption of new teeth, lack of verbal language, illness, the biting garners a huge response by the victim and/or caregivers, limited toys or possessiveness over a favorite item or caregiver, also classroom setup. If your child bites , take a look in their mouth, if you dare! Let the child have an item they can chew like a teether or soft infant spoon if supervised can help. Make sure the child isn't hungry, many children bite close to meal times. Crunchy foods can curb the urge to bite. Also make sure the child is rested. Children who are tired, ill or hungry have limited tolerance, just like adults! Shadow the child and watch other signs that the child is about to bite-does the child make other noises to say "I am playing with this toy." Teach children to say " I am using it" or "mine" rather than biting as means to an end. Children learn by watching-biting the child back only reinforces the behavior, and is cruel. Helping the child acquire language often curbs the behavior. Provide multiple favorite toys if having a play date or in a classroom. Perhaps during a play date limit favorite toys to prevent biting during play. Two year old children developmentally are not able to share and have limited coping skills, why set them up for failure? If the child bites it is important to include them in caring for the victim. Allow the child, with your help, to comfort the one that was hurt. Help the victim get a tissue or an ice pack, give gentle back rubs and encouragement. Praise the biter when they learn a new coping skill or use their words. If the child biting continues discuss the issue with your pediatrician or health care provider. Just remember the child is growing and this too shall pass.

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