Did you know that most children bite at some stage of development? We explore the world first with our mouths. It is a tool that is available to us at all times of the day and night. That said, when a child is biting self, others, or inappropriate items, it is our job to guide a child to use the mouth for more appropriate actions.
First, always determine if there is a medical reason that your child may be biting. Is there a loose tooth? A pain may also be somewhere other than the mouth but biting is a way to communicate that pain.
Assuming your child is not biting to communicate pain, they may be communicating a need for sensory input in their mouth.
When biting is about to happen or is in action, offering other biting or mouthing choices immediately can provide quick relief from a stressful situation.
For longer term solutions for meeting sensory needs, create a “bite box”, that includes things that are acceptable to bite. Bring the box out periodically throughout the day for practice AND when your child seems to need to use his mouth for biting.
Biting can be quite painful and surprising. It can trigger the best of us to lose our cool. Having alternative options ready, providing practice, AND ensuring your own stress level is kept manageable can reduce biting quickly and efficiently.
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