One of a parent's most crucial roles is to help their child navigate the world. It's an ongoing process that starts in infancy, continues through all levels of school, and extends into adulthood, to a certain degree. One of the trickier issues to handle is kids biting. Your child might be doing the biting, might be on the receiving end of a biting peer, or both. Here is an explanation as to why youngsters may use their mouths as a form of expression and some tips on how to correct this behavior.
Why Children Bite
On the surface, biting might seem malicious, but it really isn't. According to Parents Magazine, children use their mouth to learn about their surroundings in addition to bringing themselves comfort. Biting serves as a communication form since toddlers lack the language skills to express themselves the way older children and adults do. Biting represents various emotions, including excitement, frustration or boredom. So, it makes sense that as children are able to better verbally communicate, biting incidents decline.
How to Respond
If biting becomes a problem with your child, The Nemours Foundation offers some useful tips on how to handle the situation and how to prevent future incidents.
For starters, maintain control of your emotions when being stern with your child. Firmly remind him that he's not supposed to bite. Avoid a long explanation as your child's too young to comprehend.
Then focus on the person who was bitten. Determine if the bite needs medical attention. Once you've tended to the victim, turn back to the biter and comfort him as he's sure to be feeling upset.
Show your child that there are alternative methods to biting, such as using words to diffuse a situation, before it escalates.
Young children are easily distracted. Getting them to focus on something positive can serve as a great way to calm down an emotional situation.
The following tips can help avoid any future incidents:
Accentuate the positive with your child. Compliment him during times of good behavior instead of scolding him when he misbehaves.
Stay on message with your "no biting" rule. Eventually, he'll understand that that tenet doesn't take any days off. When you're venturing into situations that might trigger your child to misbehave, discuss this with him ahead of time so he knows what your expectations are.
Again, biting can result from the inability to fully communicate. So find other methods to help your child deal with his emotions. Consulting a doctor or therapist is a good start if you're not sure about proper coping methods.
In the event that you're forced to deal with the frontier that is kids biting – whether your child is the biter or the recipient of the bite – seize that opportunity to educate your child about proper mouth health. First off, help him see that the dentist is an ally and that regular check-ups aren't scary. That means setting the example by having your teeth cleaned twice a year.
The next part of the equation starts at home. Brush those chompers at least twice each day and floss regularly. Try a toothpaste, such as Colgate Kids Cavity Protection toothpaste, that fights cavities with a clinically proven fluoride formula for kids. Encourage healthy snacks, like fruits and vegetables, as opposed to sugar-filled alternatives. Helping your child develop good oral care habits early can lead to a lifelong routine as an adult.