Take a Bite Out of . . . Biting: How to keep Playtime a bite-free zone!
|This book by Elizabeth Verdick is a great way to teach kids not
to bite. Playtime has copies available in the office!
Nearly every Playtime volunteer has seen it happen: one minute, everything is going along swimming in the playroom. Then, seeming out of nowhere, a toddler has sunk her teeth into, well, another toddler. Biting is actually very common in toddlers, but it is still a behavior we would prefer not to see at Playtime!
- Help verbal children practice naming their feelings, so they can grow their expressive vocabularies. E.g., Chris, I can see you are feeling angry.
- If the playroom is particularly noisy or crowded, keep an eye for children who seem overstimulated or frazzled and bring them to a quieter space.
- Trouble with sharing is a big reason for the angry & frustrated feelings that lead to biting, so help kids negotiate sharing toys. Perhaps set a timer, to mark how long a each child gets to play with a particular toy.
- If a child seems to crave oral stimulation (puts toys in their mouth, sucks their thumb, etc), offer them a carrot stick or a cup of water.
- Biting relieves the pain associated with teething. The average age of the onset of teething is 7 months, so if you know a baby is at that age, ask his parent to provide a teething toy.
- Make sure there are plenty of appropriate book, toys, and activities for all ages in the playroom!
4) Discuss the experience & play for success. If the child who bit is verbal, talk to them about ways they can use words next time, instead of biting. Give them specific words they can use in the situation.
When to be concerned about biting
Biting is very common behavior in babies and toddlers, but it usually stops by age 3 and a half. If an older child is biting, be sure to notify your site manager so that she can connect the child’s family with a developmental assessment from Early Stages.
Do you have other tips to help prevent biting? Share them with us!