Are you the parent who cringes every time the phone rings, and you see it's the school calling? I was that parent. Sadly, my sweet wonderful daughter loved to bite. She wasn't mean-spirited, or hungry, but for some strange reason, she loved to bite the other kids in her class.
I felt so horrible and really embarrassed when I would get the call from the school office. I was going out of my mind. If she didn't stop biting, she wouldn't be allowed to stay in school and that meant, not only a disastrous situation for me but also meant my daughter leaving her friends and a school she loved. So what do I do? And how do I get it done fast? I read and read and read and decided that I had to take a multi-faceted approach to this problem. I know now that this is the only approach to take. Tackle it head on and from all sides!
So what did I do, and what should you do if you have the same problem? Knowing that every approach won't work for all kids, I suggest trying them all.
1. First, talk to your child's school. Let them know that you are going to work with your child at home and want to continue with whatever messaging your child's teacher is using in school.
2. Take your child to the pediatrician and pediatric dentist. Make sure there are no medical reasons why your child might be biting or dental issues that might be causing your child to bite. Often children will bite during the same years they are cutting new teeth.
3. Look at your home situation. If your child has siblings, do they play roughly at home, perhaps biting in a playful manner? If so, make sure to put an end to that immediately. Let both children know that biting is never acceptable even in play and you won't tolerate it at home.
4. Sit down with your child in a quiet comfortable environment and talk to them about biting. Tell them that their teeth are for food, not friends. Let them know that biting a friend hurts and that you do not want them biting their friends anymore. If they are really young, this concept may be difficult for them to fully understand, but if you are consistent, they will eventually catch on.
5. Role-play with dolls or puppets to show them what happens when a friend is bitten by another friend in school. Ask your child why they shouldn't bite and how getting bitten made the other child feel. Ask your child how they would feel if their friend bit them.
6. Buy your child a biting necklace and bracelet. Children that are teething or are just orally fixated will often stop biting other people if they have something else they can bite on or put in their mouth during the day. Just make sure to check the age restrictions before making the purchase.
Last, but not least, BREATH. Remember that this too shall pass and your little sunshine won't still be biting other kids in High School.
I remember the day that I finally felt that I had made it to the other side. I remember it vividly. I was sitting at my desk and the phone rang. The caller ID said it was my child's school and I was terrified. Not again, I thought. But then, a dream come true, the Director called to tell me that my daughter was just bitten by another child. I know I should have been upset, worried, alarmed, but all I could say was, "THANK YOU SO MUCH...YOU HAVE MADE MY DAY!" Of course, I did make sure she was ok and was so happy she wasn't hurt, but what a moment of relief. You realize your work has paid off and you have finally made it over at least one more hump of parenting. Now on to the teenage years!
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