Cleveland, OH

Cleveland Clinic's advice on toddler biting

James Stephens

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CLEVELAND, OH — Cleveland Clinic has recently shared its opinion and advice on toddlers biting. This article is shared by Cleveland Clinic's child psychologist Kate Eshleman, PsyD.

It is stated that biting could happen when kids are in the teething stage, a stage when the first teeth are starting to emerge. Related to teething, biting is a response from toddlers when they are frustrated, unable to tell their parents about what they feel. Biting also isn't always a sign that a child has serious behavioral problems. The biting phenomenon on children under age two is quite common as well.

In some cases when a child bites another child, parents can intervene right away while remaining calm. Then, make sure the child who was bitten doesn't get any injuries. Parents can tell their child that biting is not okay but in a very neutral tone. Finally, parents can take their kids to other positive activities.

It's quite unwise to say things like “we don’t bite our friends” or “we don’t bite mommy or daddy" since it could give the children permission to bite others that aren't families or friends. Parents can focus more on brief statements such as "we don't bite."

If the children are being taken care of by caregivers, tell them that the children are at biting stage.

Parents can read biting-related books such as “Teeth Are Not for Biting” by Elizabeth Verdick and Marieka Heinlen or “Little Dinos Don’t Bite” by Michael Dahl. It is also okay if parents feel that they need to talk with a pediatrician for additional evaluation and reassurance.

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