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Bite No More

Many of us have experienced that horribly embarrassing moment when our toddler appears to be playing calmly with a friend when all of a sudden she takes a bite and all mayhem breaks loose.  Children are crying, tempers are flaring, and you know the right thing to do is to discipline your child.  Although you firmly remind your toddler that it is not nice to bite, you wonder whether this will be enough to prevent your child from biting in the future.  You also wonder if she even understands why it is not okay to bite since reasoning with a toddler (especially a cranky one!) is not always easy!  This is generally a delicate developmental stage for your toddler who could still be at the tail-end of teething or simply experimenting with her emotions.  To help prevent your child from biting, here are a few tips:

  1. Carve out some individual time:  While your toddler enjoys playing with other children, she also cherishes playing with her parents and receiving dedicated, uninterrupted attention from you as well.  Make sure you devote some individualized attention to your little one so that she does not feel the need to seek out your attention negatively.
  2. Avoid irritating situations:  Pay attention to those situations that can cause your child to become irritable and avoid them whenever possible.  Whether it’s excessive noise, hunger, or lack of sleep, any one or all of these things can contribute to making your child cranky and short-tempered, prompting her to lash out and bite.
  3. Encourage the expression of feelings:  If you have an older toddler who has already begun to speak, encourage her to use her words to let you know that she needs something or simply to let you know that she is angry or upset.

Dealing with biting incidents is never easy especially when it involves other playmates, family members, or even strangers.   While we parents cannot always control our child’s reactions to situations, we can certainly try to control her environment and avoid situations that may provoke her to bite.

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