Most of the time, your toddler's a little sweetie, but what's with the biting? We explain what's going on and how you can sort it
So, you planned to bring up a perfect angel, but your toddler has started biting other children when you take him to his baby music classes, or softplay, or even the park – it’s mortifying and it's not making you popular with other mums. While a brief stint of this kind of behaviour is pretty normal, you might need more than one trick up your sleeve to fix it. Try the following tot-taming strategies…
Set a good example
Apologise to the other child and parent, and express sympathy, which will encourage your child to empathise. ‘Showing you understand why your child has behaved badly teaches them it’s OK to feel frustrated, but not OK to hurt someone else,’ says Emma.
'Biting is a sensory experience - he might not realise it's wrong'
Be firm and explain
Biting feels good because it’s a sensory experience, especially if he’s teething. But when he bites one of his friends (or you), be firm and say no, that makes you feel sad. According to Emma, ‘sad’ is an emotion most toddlers will understand.
Count it down
Sharing is a challenge, so make it easier by using counting. ‘If it’s a toy he’s after, say that each child gets it for 20 seconds, then do a countdown until your toddler’s turn,’ says Rebecca. ‘He’ll learn to take turns and be patient – an important milestone.’
Do some role play
Not an approach to rely on there and then, but once you get home and have both calmed down, this is a good way of teaching your toddler about feelings. Use a couple of your child’s favourite teddies to act out a scenario in which one bites another, then you can explain why the other teddy feels sad and why no one should hurt another person.
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