How To Help Toddlers Who Bite Their Mates

Countless times now, my son's teacher has reported to me that my son bites his mates at school, I didn't ignore it, I called my son and tried telling him why he shouldn't bite anyone.

His teacher stopped reporting him so I thought that was the end of it, but I was mistaken. A neighbour was going out one day and came to drop her son at my house, her son and mine are friends so I didn't see taking care of her son for a while as a problem.

I was inside the bedroom, trying to clean up the place, when I heard the yelp of my neighbour's son Simon so loud I ran out of the room. I looked and saw that my son had bitten Simon on his arm. I could see the impression of my son's teeth on Simon's arm and I panicked.

What would I tell his mother, that I was there and yet allowed my son to bite her son? It was so deep, so I applied oil so it would not swell up.

Apparently Simon snatched my son's toy from his hands, he tried to collect it back but Simon was bent on not giving it back, not knowing how to respond, he bit the arm Simon was holding the toy with so Simon had to drop the toy.

Clever I guess, but it's a problem.


When a child feels frustrated or feels he's been cheated, his best defence is biting. Most times they feel the victim is to blame and, therefore, deserves what they did to them.


You should however not react in a cruel manner as this may add to your child's confusion. Besides biting is very common among young children, and does not by itself predict later emotional or social problems. So don't react in a way that will do more harm than good.

Most children bite between the ages of 1 and a half and 3 years old.It's their way of expressing their feelings since they cannot express their feelings in words.  If a 5 years old is being disturbed he has the linguistic capacity to say "leave me alone!" but a 2 years old can't.

It could also be because of changes at home, such as the birth of a new sibling, attention will certainly be shifted from him to the new-born and this may cause him to feel unloved and frustrated.

How to help a child who bites 

  • Respond immediately, not later. Take your child in your laps and tell him "No! People are not for biting" Tell her reasons why he shouldn't bite. "It's not nice and you shouldn't do that again" Don't tell him that only bad children bite and this may communicate something else to them.
  • Think of the feelings associated with the biting. Did you just have a child, that could be the cause. Look for ways to give them attention.
  • Also, make sure your child knows what he's feeling "You are angry aren't you? And that's because you don't want Simon to share your toy" The child is able to know that what he's feeling is anger.To avoid biting people every time she's angry, show your child other ways of expressing his anger, like punching the pillow, stomping on the ground and any other that works for her.
  • Reward your child with praise or a hug every time she successfully plays nicely with her mates without biting them.  "You are such a sweet nice child" "Come here, come give mummy a hug"
  • Remember that, biting is a normal behaviour for toddlers so don't make an issue of it. There is no risk of injury and usually, the only thing the victim needs is a big hug and a kiss on where he was bitten.



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