And then begins the inconsolable wailing…
You rush to check if your toddler is fine. But, you are left appalled after what you see.
Your pint-sized vampire has embedded his teeth in his playmate’s arm.
This is even worse than a full-blown tantrum in a supermarket. Isn’t it? You wish you could just sink into the ground before having to confront the parents of the victim child.
All you are left obsessed with is how to handle the situation and stop your child from repeating this embarrassing behaviour again.
Relax and take comfort! Because, this nasty habit in toddlers is not uncommon. Their new growing teeth often find their way into troublesome situations. They tend to resort to such activities with little or no regard for the consequences.
The good news is, there are many ways in which parents can reduce, and finally, get rid of it.
Be vigilant: Always keep an eye on your child and try to understand the triggers that make him bite. Understand the signs that he exhibits before biting. One of the very common reasons why toddlers bite is because they are teething. Provide your toddler with appropriate toys to chew on, during this stage.
Explain your toddler: Teach them that this is a wrong habit and they must not repeat it again. Explain to them that it causes pain.
Help them to express themselves: Toddlers, at this stage, usually have undeveloped language skills, and hence, they find it difficult to express what they feel. This may make them feel frustrated and resort to biting. Therefore, teach them the better ways of expressing love, care, aggression, etc. for others. Moreover, they may even do such things to gain your attention. In such a case, show your complete love and sympathy with the victim, and convey a clear message that this is an acceptable way of gaining attention.
Encourage and praise good behaviour: Tell your child that a good behaviour is always appreciated. Encourage him to be good to others and praise him whenever he behaves well and exhibits empathy.
Let us also look into our SOS Moms’ suggestion:
Sujatha Saikumar says, “Do not be aggressive towards your toddler. Young kids cannot understand negatives, so avoid raising your voice. Use simple yet firm words to make your child understand that it is a wrong behaviour.”
Sangel Brit says, “Don’t lose your temper in front of your child. They tend to imitate you. So be a role model for your child and teach him to be more patient while playing with other kids. Also, give him examples of the good behaviour of his favourite cartoon character.
Shabnam Desai suggests, “Whenever your child shows such an aggressive behaviour, remove him from the situation, take him to park, make him walk on or balance on benches. This will help him concentrate and cool him down. Sometimes kids do wrong things because they see other children do it. They cannot distinguish between right and wrong. So, make sure you correct him and help him understand the difference between good and bad behaviour.
Last but not the least, do not ignore if this habit persists. This may be the beginning of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Consult your pediatrician if required and help your child overcome it as early as possible.
We thank all the Mommies of our community for sparing their precious time to give their valuable responses:
Shabnam Desai, Sujatha Saikumar, Sangel Brit S, Dr. Sukhjeet Jagjit Makkar, Swati Jaiswal and Ketki Gupte Ambegaonkar