Saturday, 17 November 2012

Toddler Biting

Have you thought about how you're handling children who bite?

Being a toddler is frustrating! Toddlers want to try everything. They are up and moving and finding out what their bodies can do. They want to try to do things that may not be safe or that they are not yet capable of. They want to try over and over again until they become competent. Sometimes their physical limitations stop them and sometimes we stop them. Frustration builds inside and they need to release it. Other children are available and before you know it they have reached for the arm, leg, or whatever body part is closest and left teethmarks.

Although not all toddlers bite, biting is a normal behaviour. Toddlers don't want to hurt anyone. Their biting doesn't necessarily have an agressive motive. Their focus is on achieving competence and spending quality time with adults. They want to feel secure while they are going through so many changes. They may not want to have a lot of other children around them all the time. They don't want to have to compete for adult attention. They want acceptance and structure and boundaries.

Try spending as much time as possible with the child. Don't legitimize biting by referring to it by name. Love and laugh, and encourage gentle and caring physical behaviours. Provide a safe environment for the child to test his/her physical capabilties without having to share the space too much. Give a little assistance if the child is becoming frustrated when trying to achieve his/her physical goals.

(Don't agree - that's okay :) Try googling 'toddler biting' and make an informed decision for yourself)

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