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How to Get Through Your Child's Biting Stage
Discouraging a Second Bite
Consistency is the key to managing biting in any setting. Shaughnessy says parents should take the following steps after a biting incident:
In a firm tone, tell the biter, "We don't bite our friends."
Then, turn your attention to the victim and offer comfort.
Try to get the victim to express how he or she felt about the bite. Help the child to explain to the aggressor that, "I didn't like that! It hurt. Don't bite me!"
Apply ice to the bite.
If the focus is not on the offender, he or she will learn that biting does not get a dynamic reaction or extra attention.
Parenting is all about teaching kids to be functioning members of society. Your young child will soon learn that kids are friends, not food. Be consistent, help children express needs and feelings, and provide chewy objects for children who need the oral stimulation. Tell them that object is theirs to bite if they feel the need to bite. And, when you look at that chewy object on a string and wince, remember: "This too shall pass."
On the Web
National Association for the Education of Young Children Search by topic for information on various education and child development issues.
Ask Dr. Sears See Sears' tips under "toddler behavior."
Books for Parents
The Happiest Toddler on the Block, by Harvey Karp, M.D., Bantam, 2004.
The Discipline Book, by Martha Sears and William Sears, M.D., Little Brown, 1995.
No Biting: Policy and Practice for Toddler Programs, by Gretchen Kinnell, Redleaf Press, 2002.
Books for Toddlers
No Biting, by Karen Katz (Grossett and Dunlap, 2002).
Teeth Are Not for Biting, by Elizabeth Verdick (Free Spirit Publishing, 2003).
Hadley Lewis is a mother and freelance writer from Watertown, MA.