How to help prevent biting
helps to prevent your child from
biting. Praise your child when he or she shows
behaviors you want to encourage, such as sharing, being kind, showing empathy,
or being patient.
Growth and Development: Helping Your Child Build Self-Esteem
When you see your child behaving well, reward him or her
for that behavior. A reward does not need to be candy, toys, or other treats. A
reward can be as simple as telling the child how well he or she is doing and
that you appreciate cooperation or a good-natured response to a problem or
frustration. For example, say "Great job! You used your words when you were
angry." An enthusiastic pat on the back or a hug when the child is behaving
well helps the child associate nonaggressive behavior with good things. The
child will gradually realize that it feels better to get positive attention for
being good than it does to get negative attention for biting or other
Also, model the
behavior you would like to see in your child. Avoid angry outbursts and other
forms of aggression. Set a good example by showing your child how to deal
calmly with everyday frustrations. Tell your child "Next time you feel like biting someone, remember that I can help you stop before you start."
How to help a child who has been bitten
child bites another, first take care of the child who was bitten and give
- Move the child away from the
- Comfort the child within sight of the child who bit him
- Help the child express his or her feelings about being
bitten, such as by saying, "It's okay to cry. Being bitten
- Do not say, "Johnny was bad to bite
Examine the area where the child was bitten. Most bites
from children are not harmful and leave little, if any, evidence. A tooth mark
on the skin or slight bruising may appear, which usually does not require
medical attention. Tender loving care and an ice pack on the bite are most
often all that is needed.
In rare cases, a bite from a child will
pierce the skin and bleed. If this happens, call your child's doctor.
For more information on treating bites, see the topic
Animal and Human Bites.
How to respond to a child who bites
child bites, let him or her know that biting is not acceptable. React to the
biting incident in a dramatic way (but without violence or aggression). If you
were the one bitten, overreact to the pain. If your child bit someone else,
react with a firm voice and stern facial expression. Say, "No! We do not bite."
Many children are as shocked and upset as the person who has been bitten,
because they may not be aware that biting hurts.