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A Biting Toddler

Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 3:46 am Post subject: A biting toddler

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We have a 15 month-old who is a delightful, happy baby, but when she gets mad – watch out! She sometimes bites when angry and sometimes just for fun or out of curiosity. How we handle biting issues in a child so young?

Your thoughts?

Sally

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Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 4:56 am Post subject:

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Dear Sally

One of our readers had this advice, see below. I agree with it completely. Very often it is not only "what" what we say, but more importantly, the "tone of voice" we say it in.

This is a tough issue to handle at such a young age but, the first thing I would say is NOT to bite back. I would say be patient and consistent but mostly stern. Always have the same firm reaction of “NO, WE DON’T BITE! OUCH! THAT HURTS!” and have a stern look on your face to accompany this reaction. Be sure to use the word bite to teach her what it is that she’s doing. Make sure she knows you mean business. And that what she is doing is not nice. You could try sitting her to the side somewhere (like a time-out) maybe in a chair off to the side for only a minute or so (experts say 1 minute per year of age) and be sure to do this immediately after it happens. If you don’t then she won’t understand why she’s in trouble. You want to make sure she realizes something big is happening and that you are not happy with what she has done. But again, please don’t don’t bite back…that doesn’t teach them it’s wrong…just that it hurts. At an older age like maybe 2-3 you can have them bite soap or things like that but not at 15 months. They’re little brains are just beginning to learn right from wrong.

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