Could biting be a lack of sensory development? According to NAEYC toddlers who do not experience enough texture of food, or chances to chew may be prone to biting. To prevent biting supplying more chewy snacks and an array of textures may do the trick. According to an observation done by NAEYC in 2005 showed children with a history of biting spent longer time eating and choose more chewy snacks. Toddlers learn through their senses and one of the biggest senses they depend on is linked to their mouths. That’s why they always try to put things in their mouths.
If you have a child that bites, you may want to consider changing or adding to their diet. Try new things more often. Always dice and cut food into small pieces to avoid choking. The NAEYC also recommends letting toddlers chew on an oral stimulation brush. I however suggest a baby spoon. Some days Emma carries a baby spoon all day when she’s teething. She chomps on it and loves it. It helps ease the pain of molars coming in. She has teething rings we keep in the freezer as well. She recently poked a hole right threw one. We give her 100% juice freeze pops to help ease the pain too.
For children who are three or older and are biting, the NAEYC recommends comparing eating habits to children of the same age as them. Compare the child’s ability to pronounce words and experience eating different textures. Weak oral motor control and ability can make a child prone to biting. This can help you determine whether biting is being caused from a sensory development problem, or and attention behavior.
If you find that your child is biting and it’s not because of a sensory delay, and you are continuing to add chewy and crunchy textures to their diet, it could be an attention issue. There are all kinds of reasons that can cause a child to bite. When a child’s environment changes, or is stressful they may act out in biting. When failing at learning a new task the risk of biting increases out of frustration. A toddler may bite similar to why they have temper tantrums. When they fail at a task they can’t verbally express themselves.
Different foods to introduce to a child that bites:
· Diced Apples
· Ice Chips
· Rice Cakes
· Graham Crackers
· Diced Raw Veggies
· Cheese Cubes
React in a sensitive way. Show them how to complete their goals, or avoid activities that are not age appropriate, or they couldn’t possibly complete. Explain biting is not tolerated and it’s not nice to bite. Take the child away from the situation and into a time-out. I use a chair with a book. Time-outs are recommended a minute per year of life. After time-out is over, ask why did you bite? Explain biting hurts, you don’t want to hurt your friends. Then explain your friends won’t play with you anymore if you bite. Give the child a chance to speak. Do not interrupt them and continue with the conversation. Ask the child if they are sorry, and never force a false apology.
Work Cited: Journal of the National Association for the Education of Young Children March 2006 A New Bit on Toddler Biting The Influence of Food, Oral Motor Development and Sensory Activities. “Pamela Ramming, Caroline S. Kyger and Stacy D. Thompson Pg 17-22”