If there is one body part that all toddlers use the most, it must be their mouths. A toddler’s mouth is often not only used for food; an assortment of other inedible stuff like toys often find themselves being bitten by toddlers. Still, there are those who go as far as biting other people.
Biting does not reflect bad toddler behavior; it is as much a part of toddler development as arbitrarily putting things on a toddler’s mouth. But this can also be signs of teething – another aspect of toddler development that is often painful and therefore needs much more attention than random chewing.
Often, however, elders who unfortunately experience this particular toddler behavior tend to promptly take it against the toddler, unmindful of the particular stage of toddler development that the toddler is undergoing during this time.
Biting can be a toddler’s way of expressing emotions that they, young as they are, could not articulate verbally. As part of toddler development, biting is a toddler’s way to manage emotions.
As such, the first step to managing this particular toddler behavior is understanding, not anger towards the toddler. Biting, after all, is not a sign of aggression and experts would agree that this toddler behavior is a perfectly normal stage of toddler development. As such, parents must not look at this toddler behavior from an adult’s perspective – like an adult biting another adult to piss him or her off.Rebuking toddlers openly for such toddler behavior leaves profound effects, especially that of resentment, in the toddler those parents would otherwise not want to instill. Reprimanding toddlers for this behavior, thinking they meant harm, might exactly prompt toddlers to think exactly that. This will, in the long run, result in a crooked understanding of physical harm, what it constitutes, and why it is done.
The best solution to biting is constructive criticism from parents, who understand well the circumstances behind this toddler behavior. Parents must learn to explain lucidly to their toddler that biting is painful to the other toddler and that this action should not be repeated. If parents can go a little further, avoiding mouth contact with anything else except food is better. Explaining what this or that is for, and why something should not be done this or that way, are significant steps to getting rid of that toddler behavior altogether.
Setting up a rewards system for positive toddler development may also help, as this would encourage toddlers to voluntarily restrain themselves from doing things instead of regulating what has already been done. Making toddlers feel that they are well understood and are rewarded for good behavior will definitely go distances.