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Sunday, 11 August 2013

When Your Little Angel Bites

You need to know first and foremost this is a normal part of child development. But is this behaviour, though typical, okay?

Absolutely not. So how do you deal with it in a positive manner without damaging Junior’s psyche?

As a parents, we all too often can't help but turn a blind eye. When you do finally accept that you have a little tyrant on your hands, it is time to be proactive. Look for a pattern.

You need to become a detective and look for signs that your child is giving off: Is he tired, is he hungry or is he stressed about something at school or at home? Has his world changed? Take a close look at your family circle first. Any changes on the home front? Did Mom/Dad lose or start a new job? Is there a new sibling? Anything happening with his friends?

Finally, take a look at Junior’s demeanour before school and after school. Talk to the teacher. Is there something going on at school? Is one of your child’s regular teachers on holiday? Did a new child just start in your child’s class? Oftentimes at school, it is during transition time that these behaviours occur.

Noticing what triggers your child's unwanted behaviour is the first step to changing it.

Next, speak to your child’s teacher to discuss strategies that you can utilize at school and in the home. Suggest that she discuss biting during circle time, and offer her a copy of this book. When you are working in concert with one another, the end result will be a satisfactory one.

Some strategies to use with your child:

Talk to your child. Ask why he is biting. How was he feeling when he bit? Does he know that teeth are for chewing food, not biting our friends?

Is this a sensory issue? If so, give your child a 'biting toy'-- a chewable toy made of safe, non-toxic material.

And what not to do: Don't bite your child. Some parents believe in biting the biter, so they 'know what it feels like'. This won't teach your child not to bite; it will teach him that it's okay for big people to hurt little people. Similarly, don't advise your child to deal with a classmate who bites him by biting back. This reinforces negative behaviour, teaching him that physical violence is an acceptable way to manage conflict.

Has your child ever been a 'biter'? How did you curb his biting habit?

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