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Biting when Tired

bites 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. The biting occurs any time, and to anyone. You think he is just nuzzling you, but opens up and bites. He currently has 5 teeth, and I don't think he is cutting anymore at this time. He even tries to bite the cat. I might lean more towards when he is tired, if I was pressed to say a time. I would say that he tries a lot, but you can stop him before the contact has happened. I have just been putting him in the play pen for a time out.

Children bite for various reasons. However, biting is not caused by teething. Most often, children bite in a child care setting when they feel threatened. Your grandson’s biting is definitely not that, in fact it sounds like what one of our boys did. One of our sons also had a biting problem from about 12 months to 18 months of age. Like your grandson, our son would often bite when tired and snuggling in. Just when we thought he was going to sleep he would bite us on our neck. During this phase, we parents were unable to enjoy those times when our toddler would snuggle in and fall asleep. Instead, we were on edge worring that we would get bit.

It would be best if you and his parents work together to address his biting. A consistent message from all caregiver is best. You are right that your grandson does not understand that biting hurts and is wrong. You need to teach him that biting is wrong. Biting needs to consistently become a negative experience.

Your options are either to continue the “time outs” in his pack-n-play or try some play acting. Heres a link to my time out page. I really like play acting in this scenerio. When he bites, over dramatize the pain shouting “ouch” then put him down and walk away. Most toddlers will cry and follow you. Hold your neck for a minute to “take care of your wound”. Then pick him up and tell him he hurt you. If he is really upset, you can soften it with "I love you, but I don't like when you bite. It hurts Grandma." Only time and consistency will solve this issue.


Written August 2015 by
Gregory Gordon MD, Orlando Pediatrician






gregorygordonmd.com 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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