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How to get your toddler to stop biting

Though it’s not uncommon for toddlers to bite, it’s definitely not acceptable behavior either. If you have a toddler who is in the habit of biting, follow these steps to help your child stop.

Step 1: Stay on top of the situation

Keep the child under line of sight supervision. You should always keep a close eye on young kids, but for a child who is biting other children (and adults), this is especially important. You want to diffuse the situation as soon as it happens.

Step 2: Identify triggers

When does the child usually bite? Is it when he is tired or hungry? Is it often because of wanting to play with a specific toy. If you can identify the triggers, you may be able to stop future bites before they happen.

Step 3: Be firm without being emotional

When a toddler bites say, “No bite” in a firm voice and immediately remove the child from the situation. Do not lecture the child on and on about why they shouldn’t bite — they are too young to understand long explanations. Just move her away, look at her with disappointment, and ignore her for a few minutes. Toddlers thrive on attention. When they realize that biting takes attention away from them, they usually stop biting.

Step 4: Turn to the one who was bitten

Immediately, react positively to the child that is bitten. Instead of raising your voice or expressing anger toward the biter, put your positive attention on the one that’s been bit.

Step 5: Use positive praise

Showing regular praise and outward displays of affection to your child as much as possible (when she’s not biting) may give her the extra attention that she needs to curb the biting.

Step 6: Don’t bite back

Though it might be tempting to show your toddler that biting hurts, biting back is not the way to go. Toddlers mimic their parents behavior, so biting back might actually cause your child to bite even more. Plus, you don’t want your little one going to daycare and biting everyone because that’s what you do.

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