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Tips For Responding To Biting

Courtesy Of
May 31, 2017




Observe Learn Respond
  • What happened before the biting?
  • Are there certain biting triggers?
  • Did biting lead to lots of attention?
  • Is your child teething?
  • Is your child frustrated or angry?
  • Is your child tired or overwhelmed?
  • Speak simply: "No biting. Biting hurts."
  • Offer a teether or crunchy foods
  • Have a "safe space" to calm down

Children bite in order to cope with a challenge or fulfill a need. For example, your child may be biting to express a strong feeling, like frustration. Or she may be trying to communicate a need for personal space if another child is standing too close. Sometimes, your child is trying to satisfy a need for oral stimulation.

Trying your best to understand the underlying cause of the biting will help you develop an effective behavior modification response. This makes it more likely that you will be successful in eliminating the behavior. Be sure to keep that response consistent by communicating it to all of the child's babysitters or caregivers.

Learn more
For more information and strategies for dealing with biting, browse ZERO TO THREE's resources.  Explore other child behaviors:
Agressive Behavior
Sleep Challenges


ZERO TO THREE is a national, nonprofit organization that informs, trains, and supports professionals, policymakers, and parents in their efforts to improve the lives of infants and toddlers.        

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