Children who are 15 months to 3 years old may bite other people out of frustration or when they want power or control over another person. Some ways you can help prevent a child this age from biting include:
- Helping the child put words to his or her feelings, such as, "You must feel angry with Bobby for taking your toy."
- Encouraging the child to use language to express himself or herself. Say, "Use your words, don't bite."
- Teaching your child empathy, which is understanding and being sensitive to the feelings of others.
- Encouraging activities appropriate for a child's age and abilities. To prevent frustration, avoid activities that are too difficult or competitive.
- Distracting a child who is becoming frustrated with other types of play, such as dancing. Or you may want to suggest a calming activity, such as reading or working on a puzzle.
- Stopping a child who appears ready to bite someone. Get the child's attention by looking straight in his or her eyes. Use a stern voice and expression and say, "No. We never bite people."
- Praising a child who handles frustration successfully. Say, "Great job. You used your words when you felt angry."
Current as of: August 22, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics
Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics