Biting and Other Toddler Frustrations

Month 16

Toddler teeth may seem small, but don’t underestimate the pain they can cause. An angry toddler may turn his teeth into a weapon against whoever bugs him -- whether it's a parent who says "no" or a child who steals his toy on the playground.

Don't panic if your child bites. It's totally normal for his stage of development and is a sign of your toddler’s frustrations.

Most of the time, kids bite when they want something, like a toy or your attention. Knowing your child's triggers and avoiding those situations can prevent him from biting -- and help you avoid having to make an embarrassing apology.

Let him know that you sympathize with his frustrations. Talk about his feelings, and help him work on his speech so he can find other ways to vent.

Your Toddler's Development This Month

What happened to that chubby, cuddly baby you brought home from the hospital? Now that your toddler is on the go, the baby fat is melting off and he's looking more like a child.

During this second year:

  • Your child's growth has slowed considerably. In his first few months, he gained about 4 pounds, but he'll only gain about 3 to 5 pounds his entire second year.
  • He's leaner than he was as a baby. His once-pudgy belly, face, arms, and legs have slimmed from walking, running, and jumping.

Month 16 Tips

  • If your child bites, don't overreact. Tell him simply but firmly, "Don't bite" or "Biting hurts." Keep repeating the message until he gets it.
  • If your child gets bitten, wash the bite mark with warm soapy water. Consult your pediatrician if the bite breaks through the skin.
  • Toddlers fight over toys because they haven't learned how to share. Play games that don't require sharing like hide and seek.
  • Don't keep your toddler cooped up inside -- let him run around in your backyard or at the park, with supervision.
  • Keep track of your little one’s changes on a growth chart with your pediatrician's help to make sure he's keeping pace with other kids his age.
  • Childproof your house. Block off stairs, cover outlets, lock up medicines and sharp objects, and be vigilant.
  • Your toddler should have transitioned by now from a bottle to a cup. Fill it with healthy drinks like whole milk, water, and 100% fruit juice (but no more than 4 to 6 ounces of juice a day) -- no soda or other sugary drinks!
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on July 25, 2019



AboutKidsHealth: "Animal and Human Bites -- First Aid."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Learning to Share."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Physical Appearance and Growth: Your 1 Year Old."

CDC: "Child Development, Toddlers."

Nemours Foundation: "Feeding Your 1- to 2-Year-Old."

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