Many young children bite or are bitten during their toddler years. While many parents and teachers find this a challenging behavior to change, there are common causes. It is important for early childhood educators to familiarize themselves with the main reasons why toddlers bite, as well as recognize the signs to prevent the occurrence. One useful strategy is to teach children emotional coping skills and the language they should use with teachers and classmates when they become upset.
Babies and infants may bite during the teething stage, and it is also a way for them to explore the world around them. Toddlers may use biting as a way to test classroom boundaries or out of emotional frustration. Whatever the cause, it is essential to work with parents in addressing the problem and developing an action plan to prevent it. The approach should focus on teaching children the emotional vocabulary needed to deal with their frustration.
A part of developing children's emotional reserves is also teaching coping skills, which involve the use of calming items. It is a good idea to have sensory items and calming books on-hand in your classroom. They can help alleviate children's frustration and give them time to settle their emotions. Quiet spaces, away from other children, also provide a way for children to calm down and return to classroom activities.
By creating a supportive, responsive and calm environment, teachers equip children with the skills needed to develop emotionally and socially and to understand boundaries.
ProSolutions Training offers a brain development course, "The Brain and Early Childhood: Old Myths and New Knowledge." We also offer the course, "Taking the Bite out of Toddler Biting," which instructs educators on the causes of biting, along with strategies to prevent the behavior and how to communicate with parents about the subject.