How to Discipline a 1-Year-Old Who Bites


Biting among babies and toddlers is fairly common and happens for a variety of reasons. A child may bite because she is curious, angry, or just looking for attention. Recommended disciplinary methods include remaining calm and in control of the situation. The best way to handle a 1-year-old who bites out of frustration or anger is to predict and prevent the unwanted behavior.

  • Separate the biter from the victim immediately. Isolate the biter but keep him in sight. Explain to the biter that he is in a "timeout" and that biting is not OK. Tend to the victim. If the child is bleeding, clean the wound and apply pressure and ice to the wound area.

  • Leave the biter in timeout until she is calm and has had a moment to think. Alternatively, leave the child in timeout for one minute per year of age.

  • Prevent future incidents by paying close attention to the events that led up to the biting. If you see a possible biting incident beginning to unfold, try to stop it by redirecting the child. Many toddlers can be redirected into new or different activities or toys quite easily. Be aware, however, that some biting incidents can appear as if from nowhere and cannot be anticipated, no matter how vigilant you are. In this case, use a timeout.

  • Allow the children to resume normal play activities. Try not to dwell on the event by doting on the victim or by behaving harshly toward the biter. Introduce a different activity such as singing songs together or reading books.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have a child who bites habitually and attends daycare, be advised that some centers have a "three incident" rule. The child may be removed from the daycare center after three incidents.


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