If your toddler is a “biter,” play dates can quickly go south. But it doesn’t necessarily mean your child has serious behavioral problems.
Child psychologist Kate Eshleman, Psy.D., says that biting can happen for a variety of reasons:
- Frustration at not being able to verbally communicate feelings
- A need for more oral or sensory stimulation
If your child bites another child, Dr. Eshleman recommends you:
- Intervene right away, but remain calm
- Make sure the bitten child is not hurt
- Tell the biting child in a very neutral tone that biting is not OK
- Redirect the child to another, more positive activity.
Talk to your child’s caregivers if the biting continues. Also, remember that it’s not out of the ordinary for children under age 2 to bite others.
“It does not mean your child is bad; it just means they are going through a phase,” says Dr. Eshleman.