What should I do when my child likes to bite others?

What should I do when my child likes to bite others?

So again we’ll want to remember here that small children are primarily sensory, reactive beings, meaning that they are still developing their cognitive capacity to communicate to one another through their words as opposed to their actions.  Children will kick, bite, punch, shove, and hit as a way to communicate an unmet need, so first you’ll want to go through the process of asking yourself what it is that your child’s behavior is trying to tell you, and what is a more appropriate response you can model for your child to help him communicate his needs.

When you catch your child biting another child, or even better if you can anticipate when your child is about to bite another child, separate the two children initially to guarantee that both of them remain safe.  Next, turn to your child to acknowledge his feeling and provide rationale for why biting isn’t okay.  This may look something like, “It looks like Suzy took the toy you wanted, and that made you very upset so you tried to bite her.  Biting is not okay though, because biting can hurt our friend’s bodies and make them feel scared.”  You can then model a safer response that demonstrates how to use our words over our actions to communicate needs and feeling states.  For example, you tell your child, “Try telling Suzy ‘You took the toy I wanted and that made me mad.  Can I have it back please?’”

The hope is that both children will be able to share the toy from there, but of course this doesn’t always happen and we will also need to prepare our children to tolerate the inevitable frustrations and disappointed feelings that life will sometimes send our way.  You can sum this up for your child by saying something along the lines of, “Well it looks like Suzy is not ready to share yet and that’s her choice.  I know you are sad, but I am very proud of you for using your words to tell her how you felt.”