My child bites, what can I do?

You may have heard that biting in early childhood is a normal behavior that a child can have, with an indeterminate duration, but in most cases it is temporary. If this is not the case, it is best that we go to a professional who helps us. solve the problem.

We can find bites in the family environment, dad or mom bites you, or bites the little brothers, or when a family member comes home... It is also possible that if we go to the park we hear a child crying and we are afraid to check if our little one is hooked that little guy with a good bite. Or if your little one goes to school, how many times have you encountered the conversation at the classroom door in which the teacher tells you that today he has had a more eventful day and has bitten a classmate...

Well, these situations, no matter how uncomfortable they may be, are part of the child's development and, being clear about what you are going to read below, it is very likely that they will be reduced and, above all, that you will feel that you have control of the situation.

First, do we put ourselves in their shoes?

Let's do an exercise, right now we are 20 months old, our ability to communicate is somewhat poor, we still do not have much control over language, and on many occasions the tools we use to communicate are not completely effective and our desire to get what we want They are very strong, very very strong, we feel much more autonomous and our emotions are on the surface at all times, let's say that we are very passionate.

First situation, we are calmly at school playing with our car and our classmate Hugo comes to take it directly from our hands, altering our moment. How do you react?

Second situation, we are in the park with children that we probably do not know, different ages, different toys that are the property of each child and even though they are not using them they want them for themselves, we are going to take a toy and a child comes and gives it to us. Take it away without further ado, how do you react?

Third situation, we are at home, our older brother doesn't want you to take his things, but you already want to start using his colored pencils because you are older, you take them but he arrives and rips them out of your hands in one fell swoop. How can you? do you react?

Have you been able to do the exercise? How have you felt? What would your reaction be if you were 20 months old and had the characteristics of a child of this age? It is very likely that you feel angry with this situation, that you do not understand what is happening and that the only way to get a reaction from the child is to bite or push him, it is a communication strategy that you have created during your few months of life, It may have been the only one that has worked for you so far if there is no adult supervision. And if something works for me, why stop doing it?

After that, first tip to reduce the behavior, EMPATHIZE WITH OUR SON.

You don't do it at home, but at school every day?

It is true that sometimes biting is elevated at the time of a child's schooling in a nursery school.

To understand why this happens, we just have to stop and think about the difference between the two contexts:

  • At home: Dad and mom, siblings if they exist, controlled environment, toys just for him with exclusive attention from his reference adults
  • Children's school: An average of 20 children in the classroom, with only one adult supervising the children's interactions. First place in which the child finds himself in compromising situations of sharing attention, toys, and socializing with people he does not know. The most common thing is that he opts for this type of behavior to achieve her goal, whether it is the toy he loves or the teacher's attention.

Do you notice the difference? It is normal for our little ones in their first years to develop this type of relationship and communication behaviors, and it is normal for them to be generated with more intensity at school. Until now, relationships between equals had surely had reference adults who controlled these interactions, or at least children with whom to supervise the type of interaction.

Second tip To reduce the behavior, UNDERSTAND THE CONTEXT IN WHICH THEY ARE FOUND.

Use of the mouth in the first years of life.

You have already seen that children can bite for different reasons. In the first years of life, our little ones are in an exploratory phase through the mouth. How many times have you observed that your child puts everything in his mouth?

  • From birth to the first year of life: They use their mouths to explore everything around them, to learn about the world they are beginning to discover and as a form of interaction. Through this type of exploration they are able to discover the properties of objects, their temperature, texture, whether it is soft or hard...
  • From 1 to 3 years: The lack of language and the beginning of interactions between equals, as I have already mentioned, is one of the reasons for these behaviors. At this age there is not enough vocabulary or social skills to communicate, the emotions are very intense and the lack of self-control over them causes them to sometimes tend to this type of behavior to alleviate their emotion or simply as a means of communication.

Jealousy, unfamiliar environments, stressful situations, feeling attacked or imitating, are other reasons why children may tend to bite at this age.

Third TIPAs you can see, behavior can happen in different situations, to discover why our child does it we must observe and understand the emotions they feel at the moment.

But what can we do to reduce biting?

  • Observe and anticipate: It is important as parents that we observe what circumstances lead our child to bite. If it is when he feels tired we can offer him calmer activities, if it is because he is hungry we can give him a piece of fruit to bite and at the same time relieve his hunger, if it is because he is bored we can change his environment. The important thing is to know our child and anticipate those situations that we observe that lead him to carry out the behavior.
  • React to the bite: we must focus all our attention on the child who was bitten. Sometimes, as is normal, we go to the child who has bitten trying to get him to modify his behavior, but sometimes negative attention can also encourage him to do it again. That is why we must first repair the pain, and then, with short, clear messages and with a calm but confident attitude, address the child who has bitten to explain that these types of actions bother the other person. 
  • Help express your feelings with words: As I have mentioned before, on many occasions these situations happen because they are not able to express their feelings in words, so we can help them by giving a name to how they feel, validating their emotions, but making them understand that this is not the way to express it. We value emotion but not action
  • Use positive reinforcement: Strengthens our child's emotional intelligence, praising his good behavior. It is just as important to talk to a child when he has done something wrong as to positively reinforce him when he is doing something right, and the latter encourages and motivates him to continue behaving in that way. We have to be careful with the use of positive reinforcements, the objective is for the child to understand what good social interactions are.
  • Instruct about the mouth and what it is for: A very good option is to talk to children about what the mouth is for, what uses it has and which ones we like and which ones we don't like. Furthermore, we can relate each of the actions to the feelings it generates in us.

The end of this stage usually appears around three or four years of age., when children begin to put into practice all the social skills they have been learning and have enough language to express their emotions with others. Not all children bite; there are children who are more oral active than others, so they may be more prone to engaging in this type of behavior. If this is a family situation in trouble, remember that you are their guide, in you they will have their best example. Talking about our feelings and emotions allows children to understand the ways to manage those moments of anger or frustration.
And at home, have you experienced this stage? We read you!

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