Imagine this scenario: You and junior are playing the living room and you decide that its time to go down for a nap, so you proceed to put away the toys and take junior to bed. Just as your reaching for the toy truck that junior has in his hand, WHAM, he bites you. You notice that he has broken the skin and mentally take note that this has been a frequent occurrence to get what he wants or to indicate that he is not pleased. Now the moment of choice; what do you do? You have told him biting is bad and that he shouldn’t do it but he just doesn’t seem to get the point. Well, that is one of great parenting mysteries. How do you correct your child and stop the biting habit before it gets too bad?
Below are some ways that parents I have talked with say they used to teach their children to stop biting. Please understand that some of these ways you may not agree with so take this article with a grain of salt. These are merely suggestions and nothing that should be taken as gospel.
1. Wash his mouth out with soap. This is usually reserved for older children who know that biting is wrong and can understand the punishment given to them. Take a little non-toxic soap and put it in their mouth for a few minutes. Make them hold it in their mouths while you explain to them that they are receiving this punishment because they have broken the rules and that biting is not allowed in the house. Then take the soap out, rinse their mouth out with a little water and make them apologize.
2. Bite them back. This too is reserved for older children. I realize that this seems counter productive. However some parents say that it works. As soon as junior bites you, bite him back. Not hard mind you, just firm enough that he realizes that it hurts and that if he bites you, you will bite him back. Then explain to him why you bit him and biting is not a good habit.
3. Firmly say NO. Many parents are bitten during the teething stage in a child’s development. First, its completely natural for a child to do this while teething, they are simply trying to ease the pain of cutting teeth. During this phase, soap in mouth and biting back probably wont work because the child is not old enough to understand why he or she is being punished. If your small child bites you, firmly say no biting mommy. Then replace your hand or whatever was bitten, with a teething toy. This is so the child will gradually realize that he or she should only bite the teething toy and nothing else.
4. Time Out. This is also good for small children like toddlers. If your child bites you, again firmly say no then place the child in 10 minutes of time out. Explain that he or she will be unable to play with his or her toys because he or she bit you. This is a good way to teach children the negative consequences of biting.
Finally, the four steps above are just suggestions, you dont have to use them, you can use your own. You can also contact your child’s pediatrican if you like. Its likely he or she will be able to help you sort out why your child is biting and some possible ways to correct the problem.