My Kid's a Preschool Biter

Updated on March 16, 2011
K.B. asks from Southlake, TX
8 answers

My 2 year old is a biter- and she bites almost exclusively at preschool.
The problem is she has an unusually high threshold of pain, so when she is bitten, she does not feel pain.

We've read the teeth are not for biting books, she goes to time out when she bites at preschool- we talk about not biting at home but it doesn't seem to stick and now she's on the cusp of getting kicked out of school. I'm certain she does it for attention, however in preschool it's not like I can tell the teacher to pay more attention to my child than the rest.

I feel terrible for the other and children and parents that are being bitten by my child, but she genuinely does not understand that biting hurts and thinks it's a game. She's even bitten herself and says 'Look, smiley face'- no tears.

Any suggestions? I'll try anything (tabasco doesn't work, she likes spicey foods) Thanks!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Good advice on the toy- we had a theme- bears are for biting, and send the same stuffed bear with her to school each day telling her if she wants to bite something, bite the bear. We've done skits at home where mom and dad are frustraited and want to bite something so we bite the bear.

When dropping her off at preschool we first go to the time out area, ask where does she go when she bites and she says time out- and have a routine of going through each of her class members names and saying ''no bite (insert name here)"

And I'm happy to say- since we've started this, we've been with out a biting incident.

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

She is young but you have noticed she doesn't feel pain like most kids. Either you need more true discipline training ( not punishment), or it is possible she has a sensory deficit disorder. Try googling that and see if it matches her behavior. These kids don't feel things like everyone else and consequently play rougher than the typical kid. Ask her teacher if she knows about it. If it truly is this there are sources of help and you will truly be blessed to have found out so early.
Good luck!


answers from Dallas on

I use to be an assist direct at a large center in Keller (almost 300 kids) so i have had my share of biters!

You need to sit down and make a bite book with her.

Get some magazines and contstuction papers. Make pages of items you can "bite" and items you "can not bite" and you need to go over it every day. Sent it to school with her if needed.

You need to get with the director of the school to have her "shadow" the teacher. This is possible. You just need to inforce it. Shadowing meaning she needs to hold one hands of the teachers in there.
Even if there is 1 teacher and the 11 kids (state ratio) this is possible so if they say no do not buy it.

I have been there so it is def possible. Do they have a peace place in the classroom? This is an area that the child can go to if they bite. Should be like a mat or carpet with a bucket next to it with happy items, puppets, stress balls, books about feelings, soft felt hand mirror etc...

A two year old does understand that biting hurts others. All the above items mentioned were things we started when kids moved to the toddler rooms begining at 12 months and they were successful with the kids.

You say she does it for attention? Most "biters" do not bite for attention. They bite because they can not verbally express their feelings or what they are trying to say. How is her speech? Is she talking in short 2-4 work sentences yet? I am not sure if she is a new two or two and half etc. Is she speaking around 50 words? If she isn't doing these there might be another underlining issue that you need to look at. If so Early Child Intervention can help with "bringing" out the speach in children till they are 3 years old by going to your home and school for child for no cost.

Also please note that there is 'no rule' for the state guidlines for how many times a child can bite before being kicked out. Until I was a director I heard all the different things when i was teacher about 3 times their kicked out etc.... there is no rule. The rule with the state is "if a child is a danger to themselves or others" then that is the case. Danger is in if she is "breaking" the skin of the other kids. Technically if the skin is broken (the bite bleeds) the child needs to be sent home from school and the other child's parents must be called and taken to a dr to be checked into.

So schools tried to avoid because parents want to file against the school's insurance. This is the reason that daycare costs are so high (teachers dont make anything but minimum wage up to 10/hr usually)

Hope some of this helps



answers from Dallas on

I second Annette D's advice. Let her grow up a little more before putting her into crowded social situations with same-age peers.

Also go to:

Watch Jody Capehart's video on Setting Boundaries with kids and teens. I am not sure if this was the lecture I heard her give at First Friday one year ago, but she taught a method of "reaction" to misbehavior that takes away the thrill-of-attention. 1) Approach the child super-quickly and quietly. 2) Get down on eye level with them. 3) Whisper in a very, very low growly voice, "Teeth are for eating food." (Shake your head YES while saying the positive.) "Teeth are NOT for biting our friends." (Shake your head NO.) "Do you understand?" Wait until child agrees. 5) Ask child to make a proper apology. Look other child in the eye, say "Sorry." Promise never to do AGAIN. 6) Stand up very slowly, maintaining eye contact. Back away. Don't break eye contact until you leave room.


answers from Columbus on

First, I have to say that I'm grateful you've accepted this and are trying to take care of the problem. My son's been bitten by a few kids but the parents never seem to care, or even believe that it happened!

You might need to get to the cause of why she needs to bite. Does she get mad when someone takes a toy she wanted? Is she frustrated that someone is ignoring her? Try to teach her ways to redirect her feelings in a way that won't hurt anyone.

My son isn't a biter, but he likes to hit or throw things when he's angry. Trying to teach him to draw an angry picture or talk about why he's mad didn't work. He needed a physical way to act it out. So we let him punch his bed, or throw a nerf ball. It really helps! If we're not in a place where we can do that (like the grocery store) we'll go somewhere private and he can roar like a dinosaur. He usually goes from mad to giggling.

Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

Biting is a common problem at this age. Be sure both you and the preschool label the behavior, not the child. (ex. Biting is BAD, but she is not a bad girl.)

Have they shared with you what the triggers are for your child's biting? That will give you some insight into how to best intervene.

Also, check out the classroom environment... is it too structured or not structured enough? Are teachers continually monitoring children (not just standing still and watching but moving around the room interacting with the kids) to help prevent situations from escalating into biting? Are there items in the room that she can bite if she wants that sensory experience? (Maybe you could give her a stuffed toy or soft plastic toy she could bite when she gets the urge.)
Has the daycare made suggestions for curbing the behavior? Surely they have dealt with this in the past and should have some ideas for helping out.

Another option to consider would be to give her a fresh start at a new school. Talk to the new school about the problems she has has up front and tell them you want to work on a plan to help her be successful in the classroom. If they are not willing to work with you, they are not the school for you.

Good luck and best wishes!



answers from Jackson on

maybe try something gross like casteroil



answers from Dallas on

I think she might be too young for soap in her mouth, so maybe contact her pediatrician and ask if they have any advice. I am sure they have heard a ton of "solutions", but know what will and will not work.

Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

2 is really young for preschool. I would take her out and start her in another school in a year or 2. I would just tell her "we've decided to try preschool again when you are a little older, we don't feel you are quite ready yet" and leave it at that. As tempting as it would be to tell her you're removing her due to the biting, I wouldn't. She'll feel SHE has the power to make big things happen by biting. I would watch her at all times she is with other children. And there would be immediate consequences if she tries it. Consequences such as removing her from whatever fun activitiy or place she is in. It does sound like she has caught on that this behavior gets a huge reaction from the adults around her. I'd stop talking about it at all, stop lecturing, and reading books about it. Just watch her and deliver and instant consequence. It is a phase, she wil outgrow it. My older one tried biting a handful of times at that age, but it was all with relatives, and not her peers.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions