Friday, 6 July 2012

Help, my child is biting! - Guest Post


Before I became a parent, I thought that only unruly children bit other people. I can distinctly remember being bitten by my friend from next door when we were both quite young and my mother's reflexive reaction, which was to berate the other child and exclaim, "People don't bite! Only animals bite!"

Fast-forward a few decades and I've learned a few things about children and biting. First of all, it's extremely common. When children start getting teeth, they are bound to want to use them. Infants and toddlers are giant sponges, trying to absorb as much as they can about the mysterious world around them, and one of the most common ways that they investigate things is by putting them in their mouths. Once those mouths have teeth, biting is a natural consequence.

Babies who have gotten a few teeth often bite their moms while nursing. Moms can nip this in the bud quickly by immediately removing the child from the breast and firmly telling the child, "Ouch! No biting!" It's important to do this every time the child bites, so he or she will quickly associate biting with not getting milk and mom's displeasure.

Infants and toddlers who are teething may bite in an effort to relieve the discomfort. For these children, offering teething toys may be helpful, along with a gentle "no biting" reminder. Teething biscuits and cold or frozen foods in mesh teethers can also divert teething biters toward more appropriate targets.

Toddlers and young preschoolers sometimes bite parents or playmates when they are especially frustrated, excited or over stimulated. Contrary to what many people assume, biting by children in this age group is almost never intentionally vicious or premeditated. In fact, the most likely victims of bites by children in this age group, other than parents and caregivers, are their favorite playmates.

When biting occurs during play, the best approach is to remove the child who has bitten from the play area and give him or her some quiet time. It's also important to tell the child that biting is not acceptable behavior, but in a calm tone, without anger. You might say, "Biting hurts. Biting people is not OK. We use our teeth for biting food, not people."

The key to preventing children from biting is to discover the situations when it is most likely to occur and then be very vigilant in those situations so that you can head off the biting before it happens. Does it happen when your child gets frustrated and can't express himself or herself? Is it more common just before nap time or when your child is hungry? Once you've identified a pattern, you can intercept the behavior and prevent it from happening.

Sponsored guest post:

Author Bio: Briana Kelly has over 5 years experience of content writing in the areas of child development and Montessori school teaching. She regularly writes guides and articles on behalf of www.giraffe.ie


3 comments:

  1. this is a great article that I like so much I have posted on my facebook page. I love that this matter has been explained well and helps parents deal with the problem in a calm manner out of understanding why instead of out of guilt that it is bad parenting!

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    1. Thanks Teri, and thanks for sharing.

      I know when my daughter bites me, I my first reaction is always that I've done something wrong in raising her. Often it's as Briana describes - when she's frustrated or tired. x

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  2. Thanks for this info - it's very helpful. Unfortunately, Little O is being bitten at preschool at least once or twice a week and not much seems to have been done about it other than a shrug and a "it happens". Now I think I will go back and ask them to be more vigilant when they are playing as, yes, it happens, but I don't think it should be on such a regular basis as this! Thanks for giving me the push to stand up for Little O's rights more :o)

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