Dog Bite Prevention Tips
How to Prevent a Child from Biting
While it’s unacceptable behavior, biting is common in children under age 3. Since they don’t have the vocabulary to vent their emotions, young children may bite to express frustration, anger, fear, or a need for attention. Correcting a child when they bite is essential, so respond to their behavior immediately. Keep your reaction firm and calm, and teach your child how to express themselves using their words.
Help with Biting
Diffusing a Biting Incident
Redirect your child if you see a tense situation developing.Notice if your child begins to get antsy, if their energy level spikes, or if they seem to be frustrated or angry. Step in promptly and distract them with a toy, game, coloring book, or other interesting activity.
- Distraction works wonders with toddlers, so do your best to nip a tense situation in the bud.
- For example, you could offer your child a healthy snack or a teething toy to chew on.
Respond immediately if you see your child biting.If your child bites before you can redirect them, intervene immediately. Remove your child from the person they bit so they can calm down and to prevent the situation from escalating.
- Young children have short attention spans. If you don’t address their behavior quickly, they won’t connect your response with their misbehavior.
- If your child is throwing a tantrum, hold their arms firmly but gently, pick them up, and bring them to a cool-down zone, like a quiet corner. Make sure to supervise your child the whole time.
- Don’t react with anger or roughly handle your child. Just hold them to prevent them from kicking or hitting until they stop being physically aggressive.
Keep your reaction firm, neutral, and clear.Yelling or getting angry lets your child know that biting causes a big reaction, which unintentionally reinforces the behavior. Instead, tell them that biting is unacceptable using short, clear phrases in an even, neutral tone.
- Say, “Biting is not okay,” “We do not bite people,” or “Stop. No biting. Biting hurts.”
- Avoid saying something vague, such as, “Be nice to Sam,” and don’t use long, complicated sentences. Keep your response short and name the specific misbehavior so your child clearly understands your point.
Give plenty of attention to the child who was bitten.Make sure to avoid giving attention to the child who did the biting, even if the attention is negative. Giving the biter all the attention can encourage them to repeat the behavior when they want to be noticed in the future. Address the biting with firm, neutral language, and console the child who was bitten with heaps of empathy and affection.
- Tell the child that was bitten, “I’m so sorry this happened. I know biting really hurts, but I’ll help you feel better.”
- Modeling an apology can help the child who did the biting understand that they hurt someone, develop empathy, and learn how to say “I’m sorry.”
Turn the incident into a teaching moment once your child is calm.After a few minutes, or once your child is calm, talk to them about the events that led up to their biting. Reaffirm that biting isn’t okay, but let them know you understand that they were upset. Teach them how they can express their emotions without hurting others.
- For example, if another child took their toy, say, “I know you were frustrated that Sam took your toy, but biting hurts. Next time, say, ‘Please stop, that’s mine,’ or get help from a grown-up.”
Breaking a Biting Habit
Identify when and where the biting occurs using a written log.Make sure to record the time, activities the child was engaged in when the biting occurred, and how you or someone else responded to the biting. Review this log regularly to check for patterns. If the biting happens when you’re not present, ask their daycare staff or other caregivers to use a log as well and pay attention to what happens just before your child bites.
- Biting is common in children between ages 1 and 3. Since they don’t have the tools to express themselves verbally, they vent frustration, boredom, anxiety, and other emotions physically.
- Aside from expressing emotions, children may bite because they want oral stimulation or are trying to soothe painful teething.
Teach your child how to express themselves verbally.If you believe your child bites when they’re experiencing overwhelming emotions, help them use their words instead. Teach them the name of the emotion they’re feeling, and tell them how they can solve their problem using a calm, nice voice.
- Say, “I know you were upset, but I can’t help you when you bite, kick, hit, or cry. When you use your nice voice, I can understand you and help you fix your problem.”
- Offer solutions such as, “If you’re nervous because someone is too close to you, say ‘You’re too close to me. Please give me some space,’” or “If you’re frustrated because you’re hungry, tell me or another grown-up, ‘I’m hungry. May I please have a snack?’”
Suggest other nonverbal ways that they can express their emotions.Developing verbal skills doesn’t happen overnight. In the meantime, it’s also helpful to teach your child how to express themselves physically without hurting others. Tell them that, as long as they don’t hurt anyone or break anything, stomping their feet, making a drawing of their frustration, or doing an angry dance could help them blow off steam.
- Say, “When you’re upset and you can’t think of how to talk about it, try stomping the floor. You could draw how you’re feeling, or jump around and do an angry dance. Just remember it’s never okay to hurt anyone or break anything.”
Help your child learn how to play with other kids.If your child isn’t used to playing with other kids, it’s helpful to sit down with them and offer some coaching. Model appropriate behaviors such as sharing and asking nicely.
Provide crunchy foods, a teething ring, or other chewable objects.If your child seems to bite because they enjoy oral stimulation, give them objects that are meant to be chewed. For instance, carrots, pretzels, rice cakes, and other crunchy snacks can keep them busy.
- Teething rings and chilled, damp washcloths can provide stimulation and help soothe pain related to teething. Make sure that one of these items is readily available to your child at all times. Remind them to use it if you notice signs that they might want it.
Put your child in timeout if they continue to bite.Intervene as soon as possible, tell them calmly that biting is not okay, then put your child in timeout for about 3 minutes. Timeouts should be in a quiet corner or other cool-down spot. Your child shouldn’t be able to access toys, other kids, or any fun, interesting activities.
- Timeouts communicate that negative actions, such as biting, cause negative consequences, such as leaving the group.
- It might take a few weeks to curb your child’s biting. If the behavior persists despite your efforts, it might be helpful to consult their pediatrician or a child psychologist.
Creating Bite-Free Environments
Do your best to stick to a regular schedule.Children thrive when they follow a normal, predictable routine. Try to ensure they go to bed and wake up, eat meals, and take naps at the same time each day.
- When you deviate from the routine, let your child know what to expect. Say, “Today, we’re going to run errands, and nap time will be a little later than usual. Don’t worry, if you get sleepy, there will be some time to rest in the car.”
Develop a consistent approach with your child’s other caregivers.Get in touch with your child’s daycare providers, babysitters, co-parents, and any other caregivers. Let them know that your child has been biting, and tell them how you’re handling it. Ensure everyone takes the same steps and delivers consistent consequences.
- Tell them, “Glen has been biting other kids lately. I’ve been trying to distract him when I notice he's getting antsy. If he bites, tell him biting is not okay, but don’t yell or give him lots of attention over it. Put him in timeout for around 3 minutes so he can calm down, then let him know that he needs to use his nice, big kid voice to ask for help.”
Provide plenty of interesting toys and activities to encourage sharing.When a group of kids are playing together, competition for toys can get fierce. Make sure they can all access plenty of toys, coloring books, games, and other distractions.
- That way, it’s less likely that a child will have a toy taken away and resort to biting, hitting, or other inappropriate behavior.
QuestionWhat action can be taken when a two year old bites?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can try to take their toys away, or put them in time out.Thanks!
- If your child routinely acts up at daycare and the environment is crowded and noisy, consider switching to a smaller daycare. A calmer environment might help them adjust to social situations without getting overwhelmed.
- While biting is common in toddlers, it usually stops between ages 2 and 3. If your child continues biting after age 3, consult their daycare provider or teacher.
Video: What to do about BITING BEHAVIOR
Mean Girls’ is Coming Back as a MobileGame
How to Check if Steak Is Done Using the Finger Test
How to Use a Wireless Router As a Wireless Card
Eat To Beat Breast Cancer
How to Make a Cheap Terrarium
9 Smoothie Mistakes Youre Making
Anne Hathaway Short Hairstyles: Cute Pixie Haircut for 2014
How to Tailor Food Choices for Womens Health
In Praise of Dickon Tarly, the Most Awesomely Jacked Dude on Game of Thrones’
3 Steps To Make Healthy Soursop Juice For Cancer Treatment
An Interview with Elizabeth Banks
What Its Like to Be a Muslim Woman in the U.S. Right Now