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Thread: what to do with a toddler who bites?

  1. #1

    Question what to do with a toddler who bites?

    Imran is a terrible biter.
    He doesn't just do when he's angry he does it for fun when he's happy too and when he's playing.
    Often he says "biiite" before he does it and if I say "kiss" about 90% of the time he'll kiss instead. If he doesn't give a verbal warning and I don't spot the visual cues then he gets a bite in without any other suggestions.
    I've tried praising him for kissing, time outs, removing toys, ignoring it and he just keeps doing it.
    This morning he approached me saying 'biite" and snapping his teeth so loudly I could hear it across the room and right now he's siting next to me just snapping his teeth like he's waiting for something to fall into it
    It's really painfull, he bites hard enough to leave a mark that will last for days and he bites Yasin too
    Now Yasin is starting to bite as well
    TBH I've reached a point where I always feel a bit fearful if we're having a cuddle or tickle because I can never be sure that he's not going to suddenly take a bite of me. I don't really want to be scared of my baby but it's hard not to be.
    So far he's never taken a bite while breastfeeding but the possibility preys on my mind.

    Can someone please tell me that it's just a phase and he will be over it by 8am tomorrow.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Margaret River


    Hey dachlostar

    it is a phase but one that he will continue if he gets any attention with the behaviour

    Jay has bitten me a few times...and my immediate and natural response was to say 'oww' and 'naughty'...but I have realised that if I do that he is getting attention for the now I avoid eye contact, dont talk to him and put him down (if I am holding him)...and so far it seems to be working

    perhaps ignore Imran when he makes the sounds or verbalises the bite to come...and if he then does bite take something valuable (like a teddy) from him and explain why...and when the crying stops and he has moved on to something else you could give him his toy back

    I have not done it myself, but I have heard of mum's biting the toddler back...indicating the pain and distress it causes...not sure I could do that though

    just a thought

    x yogababy

  3. #3


    We just had this problem with Kimberley not long ago she was biting Alex and leaving marks which took days to go away.
    The first time we sat her down and said it was naughty and she wouldn't like us to bite her and she doesn't do it at kindy to the other kids so she shouldn't do it to others.
    The 2nd time i did do it back to her and it left a little mark i know it was bad but it did get through to her as she didn't like it.

    I was also told to tell her that only animals bite and not people so she shouldn't do it. I don't think she's done it since i did it to her but Alex did it to her the other day and she didn't like it so hopefully that would have stopped her as well.

    It is just a phase but a horrible one at that.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    A little boy at Jack's old day care used to bite all the time, including carers and other kids (Jack was bitten 3 times in 2 days once). The poor mum spent an entire night researching on the internet but couldn't find an answer. In the meantime they used to give him a dummy at day care as they found if he had to take the dummy out first it gave the carers just enough time to get to him before he could bite another kid. I

    n the end he just grew out of it, but it really is a difficult phase. I think that like most phases at that age, it is all about the reaction. Our instinct is to tell them not to do it, but I am not so sure that is necessarily the best thing to do. I know with Jack's "get poo everywhere" phase, it was nearly impossible not to react. But when I did, not even telling him that he shouldn't do it, the behaviour stopped overnight. I know with biting it is more complicated as other people can be hurt, but I think it might be worth giving it a week of absolutely no reaction whatsoever, just ignoriing it. You can also use the positive re-enforcement thing too - praising him, giving him a sticker etc for every day he goes without biting. The combination of the two approaches might be enough. GL with it, I hope it passes soon. This is a really bad age for difficult phases I think.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    S/West Sydney


    Hi- My son went through a bitting stage early. I tried many similar things to you until one day he bit me on the chest (near my breast) and drew blood It hurt so much i was in tears. I was told by an older mother to try bitting him back (not too hard but hard enough to hurt a little) I always hated the thought but this particular day it must have been in my head so i grabbed his arm and bit down (like i said not too hard just enough to put a little pressure) he burst into tears and made me cry more. I asked him if he liked it and of course he said no, i talked with him for a few minutes about how if he doesnt like it and it hurts that it feels the same for mummy and others. Ever since that day he has never bitten a single person.

    I was at the point where reward charts werent working, bribing him with toys, naughty corners, ignoring, removing toys etc all werent working. I used this as an absolute last resort and thankfully it has worked.

    Fingers crossed you may find another solution as it was heart breaking to have to do it but i thought if he could make me bleed what damage could he do to a small child.

    I dont think (as much as we were saying its hurts etc) he realised that it was painful until he had it done to himself.

    Good luck.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Gold Coast


    i too would love to know!! i might try the 'no respose' and see if it helps. I have tied the biting back but I think he is too young to understand? it just hurts so much sometimes its hard not to react! sometimes i feel like DS hates me because he hurts me so much with biting and hiting! i am really struggling to keep my patience at this age!! (20mths) ohhh and he has biten me while BF and it looked as though my nipple was about to come off!! thank god he at least doesnt do that anymore! GOOD LUCK DACH

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2007


    Great thread, Laila bites aswell. I tell her no firmly and she gets a sad look on her face (she knows what no means) but cause she is so young I cant really do much more with her..sitting down and talkignto her aint gunna work,lol. Im just afraid its going to get worse cause she is starting to do it to her Nonna etc.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jun 2007


    My DD1 is also born march 06 and we have a very similar issue that has intensified since DD2 has come along. In the last few days i have not responded to her biting at all- no neg or pos feedback, i dont even look at her when she bites me so she get no acknowledgement (it's hard to ignore esp if she is hurting me) and yesterday and today she will go to bite me but will not actually bite down iykwim. Its like she is waiting for me to say something but if i just carry on whatever i'm doing she finds something else to do. I am thinking in another day or so she will think why bother ?? well i'm hoping

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