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Reducing Biting in Children Ages 15 to 36 Months - Topic Overview

Children who are 15 months to 3 years old may bite other people out of frustration or when they want power or control over another person. Some ways you can help prevent a child this age from biting include:

  • Helping the child put words to his or her feelings, such as, "You must feel angry with Bobby for taking your toy."
  • Encouraging the child to use language to express himself or herself. Say, "Use your words, don't bite."
  • Teaching your child empathy, which is understanding and being sensitive to the feelings of others.
  • Encouraging activities appropriate for a child's age and abilities. To prevent frustration, avoid activities that are too difficult or competitive.
  • Distracting a child who is becoming frustrated with other types of play, such as dancing. Or you may want to suggest a calming activity, such as reading or working on a puzzle.
  • Stopping a child who appears ready to bite someone. Get the child's attention by looking straight in his or her eyes. Use a stern voice and expression and say, "No. We never bite people."
  • Praising a child who handles frustration successfully. Say, "Great job. You used your words when you felt angry."

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 21, 2012
    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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