18 Month Old Won't Stop Biting!

Updated on March 30, 2007
A.K. asks from Saint Louis, MO
8 answers

My nearly 18 month old daughter has bitten 2 children at daycare within the last 7 days, and she has attempted to bite more! Her bites have been so bad that they've caused bruises. I've learned from the daycare teachers that she usually tries to bite someone when they have a toy she wants or they're doing something that she doesn't want them to do. She's obviously learned that biting gets her what she wants. The daycare teachers/director are asking for my husband and I to help my daughter learn that this is unacceptable behavior, but that's challenging to do at home since she's the only child so far (so we don't have many instances at all where she tries to bite someone). We do discipline with time out in the corner for 1 minute and tell her in terms appropriate for her age no biting/biting hurts, etc...

It seems to me that if we could help her learn that this is unacceptable behavior and then help her learn a way to handle those situations in an acceptable way, that might work.

If you've dealt with biting and have some suggestions, please pass them on! I'm afraid that if my daughter keeps this up the daycare director will tell me that my daughter can't attend any longer.

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for all of your support and advice. I have good news -- we just made it through 2 days without a biting incident. My daughter was even hugging the other kids today. :) Hopefully we don't have much more biting to deal with. I am going to work on more sign language with her. We do several signs, which are incredibly effective. The most recent one that I absolutely love is "help" -- it certainly reduces the screaming when she's frustrated with something!

Thank you all!

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answers from Dallas on

I had a little boy in my home daycare with that problem. His mother settled on having him bite a bar of Dial soap any time he chose to bite someone else. The look on his face at the taste of that soap...It worked though. He stopped pretty quickly after that (even though nothing else had seemed to work.) Good luck!

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answers from Dallas on

My son is 23 months and he was a horrible biter. I too worried that they would kick me out of daycare. I talked to the teachers and they said it is pretty common at their age since they dont know how to communicate. I googled everything about how to get them to stop biting. With us too, it always involved a toy. They say they eventually will grow out of it. He is my only child but his father has two other kids that are over every weekend and he has biten the 3 yr. old a couple times. We try to get him around other kids as much as we can so we can try to supervise his interactions because it is hard when you are not at the daycare when it happens. It got so bad that my parents (grandparents) call every day and ask if there was any beatings/bitings or body slams? It has really really slowed down the closer he gets to two.



answers from Dallas on

My daughter (who is now 22 months old) went through exactly the same thing, and she too is an only child. Thus, the problem would mainly occur only at school, but occasionally at home. She would either bite others or bite herself (enough to leave marks!!!)

Some ideas behind what is causing the problem:
1. Frustration at not being able to communicate well

Suggestion: work on teaching non-verbal communication (sign-language), this helps them express what they want, when they don't have the verbal ability or vocabulary to do so.

2. Showing anger or simply curiosity towards other children (the toy jealousy thing)...

Suggestion: At school, have the teachers sternly say "No-no" and put her in an isolated area(by this I mean away from the other kids) as soon as the incident happens. If all of the other kids are at the table, have them sit her on the play area away from others. Certainly a place where the care-givers can still watch her (so not in complete isolation). This will remove the immediate threat to the other children and hopefully express to your child that what she is doing is not acceptable.

3. Teething

There is also a possibility that she is teething. Therefore your child will bite to relieve the discomfort of teething (and sometimes, the other kids are the most accessable object). So we kept a chilled teething ring at daycare. If our child bit another child, tried to bite another child, or looked as though she was about to bite another child... we would have the watchful daycare personel give her the teething ring. If it was a teething problem, it would help soothe it. However, it is an anger or frustration problem, it teachs your child that there is only a certain object (the teething ring) that is okay to bite.

Hope this helps or gives suggestions!



answers from Dallas on

A., i have a in home day-care! i had kids bite before.. YES! Its about getting what they wont.. But if her DayCare teacher has to try and work with her like maybe sit next to her when she is playing or make sure if she is not left alone make her go with her and hopefully she can catch it before she bites that's what i do and tell her NO NO you dont bite.. and put her in time out/by herself for a bit.OH she well grow out of this.. it might take a while but you just have to keep a close watch and REALLY CATCH HER IN THE ACT... so she well understand.. good luck T.



answers from Dallas on

They do bite out of frustration but if it continues at daycare or is enough to break the skin of the child being bitten, the daycare will be tempted to kick your child out. You have to remember that the other child has parents too. Once those parents keep complaining about the bites, the daycare will feel the need to take action. That worried me to no end with my daughter so I took drastic action--I started biting her back whenever she bit me. I know someone on this site is probably fainting right now but I really don't think you understand how much a bite hurts unless you experience one. So whenever my daughter got angry at me and tried to take the skin off my thigh with those little teeth, I took her little hand and nipped it just hard enough that she understood that it was not a pleasant feeling. Then I'd talk to her about how much it hurts me and how she shouldn't cause pain to other people. She's 3 and I can't remember the last time she bit someone. Now if I can just make her stop bossing eveyone around :)



answers from Dallas on

She has only bitten 2 children? My son went through this at this age and there were many more victims to his torture. Good news..... he grew out of it. I did not have to bite him to let him know that it hurt, I did however put him in time out and told him no. It only lasted a month or so.....of course I felt so bad for the children he did bite. One girl got a big chunck taken out of her cheek. My point is that it is a phase and she will grow out of it...... don't feel too guilty. I hope the support helps!




answers from Dallas on

My son was a hitter, What worked for us was grounding him from something he loved to play with. He was just 2 and loved to play gameboy. I would tell him on the way that if his teacher told me he hit, he could not play any games the rest of the day, no gameboy, no computer, no xbox. I made sure he understood and I only had to ground him twice. He was really bad about hitting and this worked for us. We almost got kicked out as well.



answers from Dallas on

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Good luck with the biting too!

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