How do I get my 2 1/2 year old to stop biting?

My 2 1/2 year old has just recently starting biting. She will run up to us, wrapping her arms around our legs as if shes hugging and than chomps down. She has actually left bruises on our legs! We have tried explaing that it hurts and isnt nice to do that, yet she continues doing it anyway. HELP!!

Submitted by kalidog6969

Dear Kalidog6969:

 

Some kids bite. Usually it passes. The most helpful thing I can suggest is for you to remember that the attention span of a 2 1/2 year old is about three seconds. So if she bites, say loudly and fiercely "NO!" and immediately pull away with a look of bloody murder. But remember, three seconds. At the end of three seconds, she will no longer know what this was all about, and no further explanations or discussion are going to be of any use at all. Just go back to ordinary life with her as soon as you can.

 

You may also have an inkling that she is about to bite, by her expression or some other clue. The best thing here is to interrupt the actual bite, by leaving the area or sitting down with your legs under you.

 

Biting is a primitive expression of excitement, love, hate, aggression, and the desire to control. As your daughter gains in other ways of expressing her strong emotions through language and gesture, the biting will phase out. But meantime, you want to interrupt her before she bites or to show an immediate fierce disapproval when she does. It would also be helpful if you can try to reduce the amount of excitement and anxiety in your daughter's life--toddlers often begin to bite when there are changes that they cannot control: a new baby, a new school, a new routine. Perhaps you can think of something that may have gotten her especially keyed up recently.

 

Elizabeth Berger MD
Child Psychiatrist and author of "Raising Kids with Character"

Answered by Parents Team
Community Answers (2)

I had the same problem with my son at that same age. Fortunately, it was a "stage" which he outgrew. First we determine in what situations he was biting. It was primarily when he was playing with a toy and another child took it from him. He bit the child in anger and frustration. So, when we saw him in those situations, we removed him as quickly as possible and redirected his attention. We also taught him what the proper response was in those situations and that biting was for food only.
Submitted by vanessalaw