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Moms Expertise

Disciplining toddlers: biting

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12/05/15

I simply place my fingers to his lips and tell him no or place him away from me. I have even walked away, just a few feet, and that worked as well while telling him, "No biting." With hit, I put his hands down and tell him, "No hitting."

12/04/15

Understand the reason…

Babies bite and hit. Don’t take it personally. Babies do bite the hands (and the nipples) that feed them. Everything babies do revolves around their hands and mouth.

Learn sources that trigger biting and hitting

Know what triggers aggressive behaviors. Keep a journal (at least mental notes) identifying the correlation between how a child acts and the circumstances prompting the action.

Provide alternatives

Face-slapping is a socially-incorrect gesture babies experiment with. Redirect the slapper into a socially-acceptable alternative: “Give me five.” Likewise, redirect nipping: “No biting, ouchie, hurts Mama! (put on your unhappy face); then redirect the behavior: “Hug mama. That’s nice!” (smile and hug back).

Don’t bite back

“But the child needs to learn that biting hurts,” you may reason. Yes, but there’s no way your child will decide that she shouldn’t bite if you bite. Try this alternative tooth-for-tooth method: Take your child aside and ask her to let you show her how teeth feel on skin.

Don’t bite back

“But the child needs to learn that biting hurts,” you may reason. Yes, but there’s no way your child will decide that she shouldn’t bite if you bite. Try this alternative tooth-for-tooth method: Take your child aside and ask her to let you show her how teeth feel on skin.

Encourage empathy

You notice one child hits (pushes or kicks) another to get a toy. Show and tell an alternative way to get the toy. “We don’t hit other people. If you want the toy, wait until your friend is finished with it or ask Mommy and I’ll set the share timer.

Use time-outs to calm the situation

“Biting hurts, and it’s wrong to hurt. You are going to sit by me.” Usually by two years of age the child can make the connection between being aggressive and the consequences.

Model nonaggression

A child who lives with aggression becomes aggressive. How do you communicate disappointment, handle conflicts, and get your point across? Aggression is contagious

Avoid setups

Avoid situations that bring out the worst in kids. At a birthday party a mother setup a scavenger hunt for a bunch of boys inside her house, of all places. To fuel the frenzy, she offered a prize for the winner.

Reward positive behavior

Children over three respond well to rewards, such as a no-hitting chart: “Every day you are nice to your friends, put a happy face on the chart.

Supervise actively

It’s neither fair nor safe to allow aggressive toddlers to play with potential victims in close quarters without a parent on watch. If your child is aggressive, share your concern with the other parents or teachers in the playgroup, and seek their help in tempering your child’s aggressive behavior.

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