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Biting - Home Treatment

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Suggest other ways for your child to express feelings. For example, say, "Use your words to tell Susan you are angry at her for taking your truck."

When a child bites, do not:

  • Bite the child back to show how it feels to be bitten.
  • Wash out the child's mouth with soap.
  • Pinch, slap, or use other physical punishment.

Starting at age 2, children who continue to bite may benefit from time-out. Time-out removes the child from the situation, allows him or her time to calm down, and teaches the child that biting is not acceptable behavior. Time-out works best for children who understand why it is being used.

Biting that occurs in a child care center

When one child bites another in a child care center, the director may ask to meet with the parents of both children. If biting keeps happening, measures that can be tried include:

  • Shortening your child's day at the center.
  • Watching your child closely to identify when he or she is most likely to bite. Some activities may frustrate your child. Replacing frustrating activities with less challenging activities may be all that is needed to stop a child from biting.
  • Staying on a consistent routine.

If these measures do not stop your child's biting, you may want to or you may be asked to move your child to another child care setting. A smaller center or one with staff who are skilled in handling children who bite may be a better situation for a child with an ongoing biting problem.

Contact your doctor if:

  • You have not been able to stop your child's biting using the above techniques.
  • You have difficulty handling your reaction to your child's biting.
  • Your child's biting is disrupting his or her life.
  • You need suggestions for treating biting.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 08, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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