Mental Health, Uncategorized, What's New|

Did you know toddlers who attend an early care facility five days a week all year can expect to be bitten by another toddler about seven times?

While no one wants a child to bite other children or be bitten, at least we know it’s a common behavior. But why is it so common, and what can you do about it?

Why Toddlers Bite

  • They lack the language skills to ask for what they want or express how they feel.
  • They’re experimenting to see what happens.
  • They don’t want to share with another child.
  • They’re teething.
  • They’re over-tired.
  • They’re bored.

How to Preventing Biting

  • Anticipate when bites might happen by paying attention to what’s going on with the child right before the bite.
  • Distract the child with another activity.
  • Suggest another way to handle the situation instead of biting.
  • Give the child something else they can bite or chew.
  • Suggest ways to share popular toys.
  • Be clear that biting is not acceptable.

What Not to Do

  • Don’t get angry.
  • Don’t shame the child.
  • Don’t bite back. Biting is normal and common, but it is important to teach children that biting is not a good way to get what they want.

Resources for Families

The good news is that most toddlers stop biting by the time they are about three years old, and in the meantime you can always ask for help if your efforts to teach your child to stop biting don’t seem to be working.

Get information on what changes you should expect as your child grows with the Developmental Milestones Checklist

Call Pennsylvania’s CONNECT Helpline at 1-800-692-7288 for information about your child’s development and connecting to Early Intervention Services in Pennsylvania.

Get information about the Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Project

Click here to download this information as an infographic: Why Toddlers Bite.

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