Sunday, January 5, 2014

JAWS - tips to stop a biter

Biting is always an exasperating situation, whether your child is the biter, or if another child is biting yours. I never forget coming home from work one day to find my little 3 year old boy sporting a big red circle of teeth marks on his cheek put there by the babysitter’s daughter.

It is not always clear why kids bite, but in the case of a little 2 year old I know, it is because he can’t express himself in words and when his brother pushes him over, his only defense is to sink his teeth into the nearest offending flesh he can find. Now, if his brother didn’t react, he would think of doing something else, but biting always induces a great response! It does also draw attention so mother does something about the annoying brother. In his case he gets a time out every time he bites.

Other reasons for biting might be because the child is teething, and biting on something is soothing (rather like puppies chewing everything in site when they are teething). Maybe they need your attention bad enough to cause someone to cry. The child may be jealous of an older or younger sibling taking your attention away from him.

So what do you do with a child that bites?

Preventative measures:
Look for the possible causes:
a) If you think he has sore gums then give him a teething ring or rub teething
    medication onto his gums.
b) If he needs attention, don’t ignore the signs, even though you may be busy.
c) If you think he is frustrated or jealous, try to remove the annoyance factors.
d) If he is old enough, tell him to tell you what he wants instead of biting to get
    your attention.
e) If you see him about to bite, quickly redirect his attention to something else.
f) Change activities around so the child does not get bored or frustrated.
g) When he acts as you ask, praise him for doing the right thing.
h) When you are aware of your child's biting habit, then warn the daycare or
    play-date parents.

Active measures:
a) Tell your child very simply but firmly that he must not bite. Explain that biting
     hurts. If he wants your attention then he's to call you, not bite another child. Obviously,
     a very small child will not understand all those words. However, if you put on
     your stern face and voice and say, “Do not bite!” he will get the picture. Tell him that
     if he bites, he will get a time out or go home.”
b) If he bites then do exactly what you said you would...serve the consequence.
c) Do not bite a child to teach him a lesson. He will only get confused and wonder
    why you are biting him when you won’t let him bite others.
d) When he gets old enough to express himself, encourage him to say what is wrong
     or what he wants so he doesn’t feel the need to bite others.

The habit of biting is not prolonged. However, it is disturbing to any recipients! It is important to deal with it for all concerned!

Written by Sally Burgess
Supernanny Team: 
 Article on stopping a child from biting

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