Guest Author - Julixa Newman
Children go through several stages during their childhood that can rattle a parent's patience. Although they seem to last forever, for most children it lasts only a mere couple of weeks. Biting is one phase that can seem like a lifetime! Here are some tips to help lower the frequency and duration of this trying childhood phase.
Try to catch them in the act before they actually bite. This might seem like a very hard task, but many times toddlers will bite when they are frustrated. Make sure to be present when you hear your multiples argue. When you see the biter going to bite, make sure to look them straight in the eyes and say “No” in a very stern (but not over excited) tone. If they see that you are excited, they will do it again just to see the same reaction from you.
If you're a minute too late and the child has bitten already, be sure to grab the bitten child first. Console the child and let the biter see that the way to catch your attention is not by biting. It only takes a couple of times before the biter sees that the way to your heart is not through the teeth!
After soothing the child that was bitten, make sure to tell the biter that we do not bite. If it is age appropriate, make sure to give them a time out. A basic rule for time outs is one minute per child's age. For example, if your child is three their time out would last three minutes. After the time out, ask the child (if they are old enough to speak) if they know why they received the time out. It is very important that a child knows why they have been punished. After the time out the child must apologize to the other. If your child is not able to speak, make them give the other child a pat on the back. It is very important to teach our children about empathy.
Stay away from doing anything too drastic. Biting a child after they have bitten may give the child the impression that you too are upset and that you're expressing your frustrations the very same way. Also, do not attempt to scold them by putting hot sauce in their mouths or anything that might harm your child. Keep in mind that this is a stage that many children go through and it is relatively short lived. Lets face it, how many adults do you see biting because they are frustrated?