Young Children and Biting

Teething, frustration may contribute to biting

angry child screaming

If your toddler is a “biter,” play dates can quickly go south. But it doesn’t necessarily mean your child has serious behavioral problems.

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Child psychologist Kate Eshleman, Psy.D., says that biting can happen for a variety of reasons:

  • Teething
  • 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:

  1. Intervene right away, but remain calm
  2. Make sure the bitten child is not hurt 
  3. Tell the biting child in a very neutral tone that biting is not OK
  4. 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.

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“It does not mean your child is bad; it just means they are going through a phase,” says Dr. Eshleman. 

More information

Dental Care in Infants

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