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Jaws 3: Why Luis Suarez and your toddler have more in common than you think

Jaws 3: Why Luis Suarez and your toddler have more in common than you think

 

This week the world watched as Luis Suarez bit a rival player for the third time. He seems to be making rather a habit of it! Like everyone else, I just can’t understand it.

 

Sometimes toddlers like to make a habit of biting too. I’ve heard one paediatrician estimate that somewhere near 25% of children bite others during their early years.

 

Why do they bite?

 

Some toddlers haven’t quite worked out exactly how their body works so a bite might just result from somewhat over-excited experimentation.

 

If your toddler hasn’t quite come to terms with sharing and turn taking, they might resort to a nip to indicate frustration when they want their own way.

 

It doesn’t mean that they definitely want to inflict pain. It might actually be that they just can’t find the right words to express their desire!

 

Biting as a defence mechanism is more common in toddlers that can’t talk yet. If they feel threatened but they aren’t able to vocalise it, it’s almost understandable that they might get their gnashers working!

 

How do I help them to stop?

 

Quick reactions and a cool head are what you need with a biting toddler. Don’t be tempted to bite them back; retaliating will just teach them that violence should be met with violence.

 

Equally you should never ignore the issue as they will only learn not to do it if they are made aware that it is wrong.

 

If you know they’re prone to biting then keep a very close eye on them when they’re around other children. Look out forclenched teeth (a sign that they’re about to go for it) and intervene to keep others out of harm’s way.

 

A firm word in their ear will go a long way. Calmly tell them repeatedly that what they’re doing is biting, and that biting is wrong.

 

If they continue to bite, firmly say ’no’ and put yourself between them and their victim. Make sure that your back is turned on the biter and they might begin to understand that biting isn’t going to win them the attention that they want.

 

Always remember to meet good behaviour with praise and hopefully the biting will continue to lessen. Phrases like “look how good and gentle you’re being” can go a long way with toddlers.

 

Keep practising these suggestions with a biting toddler and hopefully your little one won’t go down the Suarez route!

 

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