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Biting in Toddlers

biting in a toddler

I have a 14 month olddaughter who started biting at daycare about 3 weeks ago.  She transitioned from the "baby" room to the "one year old" room at 9 months because she started walking early. 
She was bitten many times during this transition so I know what it feels like to be on the other side of it.  I feel terrible that she is biting other kids.  Her teachers say that she bites when she is excited, frustrated and teething.  They try to stop it before it happens; but, this is easier said than done.  They attend to the "victim" first and then pull my daughter aside and talk to her about not biting her friends.  She hasn't done this at home.  She is an only child so there aren't many kids trying to take her toys though. 
Is there anything that I can do to stop this behavior?  Yesterday, she bit 3 kids in one hour while her teacher was on her lunch break…

Biting is a very common and difficult toddler problem. In most cases, it is definitely a learned behavior. Children bite for various reasons. Biting is often a used by smaller toddlers who feel threatened. I would recommend you address biting the same as toddler hitting. See hitting toddler.

As a parent of only the biting child you have few options. You need to observe her around other children to determine why she bites and discipline her so she knows you do not approve of her biting. You could visit daycare, observe her behavior, and discipline her when she bites. If you have a great friend with a toddler you could invite the other toddler over to play and discipline your daughter when she goes to bite.

In this case, time out should work best. The timeouts need to happen immediately following the biting or attempted biting. With time and consistency this should pass.


Follow up 4 months later

She is much better!  She didn’t have any attempts (or victims) for over a month.  Her daycare made a big deal, presenting her with a certificate and gifts for “being nice to her friends” about 2 weeks ago.  Last week, she bit her friend on the cheek…  I’m hoping it was a fluke and won’t happen again.  Regardless, she is doing much better and seems to have more control over her emotions. 


see child biting self

Biting When Tired

My 11-month-old grandson has started biting, and I want to know how to stop this. I am his caregiver all week long, so I spend the most time with him. He is a very loving, bright baby, but I don't think he understands that biting is wrong. (... more on biting when tired)

Written July 5, 2010 and updated November 2010 by
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician


 is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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