Out of our three toddlers (DS#1 is 4 years old, DD#1 is 3 years old, and DS#2 is 21 months old), we’ve not had a problem with any of them biting anyone.
This is no longer the case. Boo.
I’ve talked to my mom and a trusted friend (who has kids who are a tad older) and discussed the biting situation. I’ve Googled. I’ve read a LOT because it freaks me out and has become an epidemic in this house. My DD#1 has taken it upon herself to, on an almost daily basis, bite DS#2. DS#2 is 17 months younger than DD#1 but weighs more and is taller. This is not okay but how do I stop it????
After my reading and advice seeking adventure, I have a couple of theories.
1. She is frustrated. She is smaller than both of her brothers and they all play rough. If DS#2 decides to tackle her, she can’t do anything to stop him or get him off of her. If DS#2 decides to take a toy from her, she isn’t physically strong enough to stop him.
2. She is not getting the appropriate level/kind of attention. DS#1 gets a pretty steady stream of positive attention these days for homeschool related achievements. DS#2 is getting a lot of attention because… well… frankly, he’s a lot happier child than any of the other three kids. DD#1 is now completely potty trained (where the majority of her positive attention previously came from) and is not yet at another “big” stage like DS#1 is with the formal homeschool stage.
3. She is bored. The biting typically occurs in the morning time when I am talking to my mom and out of the same room as the kids. I guess this may also have “attention seeking” roots also since I am preoccupied in another room.
Therefore, I am experimenting and have implemented a couple new strategies in our daily routine.
1. I am attempting to either stay in the playroom with them while on the phone or have them in the room with me.
2. I have discussed calmly with DD#1 that we do not bite. If she finds herself in a situation in which she needs Mama’s help (like either brother hurting her), she is to seek Mama’s help by yelling if Mama is not in the same room. I assured her that I will help her and then actually followed through with this promise. (Not just for demonstration sake but DS#2 “allowed” me the opportunity.) I explained to her that Mama wants to help her but needs to know when someone/something is hurting her. That is also why we don’t scream just for the fun of it in the house. We scream only when we are in danger or being hurt.
3. I have switched “talk to Mamma” time in which I seek a quiet place away from kids to “let’s all color at the dining room table” time. They are able to do something constructive that they enjoy while I supervise the activity PLUS they like to hear my conversations with my mom. Today, we even talked about how Mamma and Pops were doing and what Mamma said to Mama after I hung up the phone. They were also busy with coloring (and eavesdropping. haha) that they were relatively quiet during the conversation. It won’t work every day but it is a start.
4. I am actively attempting to praise her for anything positive that she does during the day. Even if she is just playing quietly, I have tried to walk by, hug her and tell her how proud I am of her for playing quietly. She also has been helping me take DS#2’s dirty diapers to the trash. She gets big praise from me when she does this act of being a big sister.
5. I am attempting to spend a few random moments through the day just holding her. With the middle child thing going on right now and a new baby on the way, I don’t want her lost in the shuffle. Her love language (or at least one of her love languages…) seems to be touch. Physically loving on her seems to bring a smile to her face (not an easy task normally) and we have a small window of really good behavior afterwards.
Anyway, this is my experiment. We will see how this works. 🙂