Written by Jana Angeles 

It can be a bit of shock when your toddler decides to bite you with no apparent reason. As they grow older, they become curious and all their senses become heightened. They begin to feel mixed emotions and not sure how to release them in a productive way. This is why they sometimes feel the need to bite because it is their form of coping when they feel a certain emotion. While it does hurt to see your toddler do this, there are ways where you can enable them to not bite when they feel stressed, happy or simply frustrated. Here are some handy tips to help your toddler avoid the dreaded biting habit they seem to have adapted.  

Find better ways where they can release their emotions 

Having your toddler bite you may mean that they are unable to understand or regulate their emotions just yet. Finding ways to help them release their emotions in a productive way can enable them to be more open to you and recognise that their behaviour is not ideal. Make close eye contact and talk to them kindly. Be open with the idea that they may need more attention and look for the signs that they may simply need a bit of tender love and care to help them feel safe and calm. 

Play with them one-on-one 

As mentioned in the last point above, your toddler may want your undivided attention. You may simply be too caught up in life and have had to look after a second child or focused on getting the household chores completed rather than spending time with your toddler. Designating a couple of minutes to playtime can be an effective way to remind them that you haven’t forgotten about them. This also gives them the security of knowing that they are still loved and cared for despite the circumstances. By playing their favourite games or with their beloved toys, all of these can help shape how they regulate their emotions and will also give them an opportunity to cry, laugh, be angry or stressed.  

Whatever you do, don’t shame your child for biting  

If your toddler has bitten you for the first time, the initial shock will question your method of parenting. As always, you shouldn’t underestimate your parenting abilities if you have shown love and care for your toddler at this point in time. Just remember that although your toddler bit you, it does not automatically make you a bad parent. It simply means that they are feeling an emotion where they simply don’t know how to react. Don’t shame them for biting but also be firm enough for them to stop actually doing it. 

Let them throw a tantrum or cry it out until their done  

Maybe you’ve gone soft on your child and have automatically felt the need to cuddle them when they get upset or given them everything they need to feel comforted, but there’s also something about letting them release a tantrum or tears for that matter. Sometimes letting your toddler throw a tantrum (given it’s in the household, not out in public) or crying it all out can do wonders for themselves. Children do bottle up their emotions without realising that they are, so having a tantrum or crying it out can be exactly what they need and can even help reduce how often they bite. 

Sometimes you just have to assume that there is no reason for their biting  

If this behaviour is out of the blue, sometimes the best thing you can do is not question your child’s biting. Children are weird creatures and you have to understand that they are exploring a world of their own. Their own problems, feelings and thoughts are unique to them and we shouldn’t make a comparison to what they should be like as a toddler. It’s best to not look into it so much to the point where you think there are actual behavioural problems with them. Just let go and do as much as you can to help them feel stable, safe and loved as much as possible.