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Ask Babs: On Hurtful Biting

by Babs Hadjusiewicz August 27, 2015

Q: My toddler was just two and suddenly started biting during play dates. What can I do?

A: Thank you for asking a question that’s in sync with my ongoing guest blog series. I share this poetic response with you. I trust these poetic words, along with the first four segments of my series on biting and the dozens of parent comments (See Part one , part two, and Part three here) will be of help to you.

On Hurtful Biting

(and Other Such Behaviors)

Copyright © 2015 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz

It’s helpful to find some simple rhythmic words that not only capture a frustrated toddler’s attention, but also provide useful language and knowledge toddlers want to learn. Repeat any of the following ditties over time until the toddler can say the words. Notice how, with the change of one or two words, most of these ditties can apply to any of a number of hurtful behaviors exhibited by a frustrated toddler or preschooler.

I Want to Touch

I want to touch

I want to touch

I want to touch your toy so much!

I’m Gonna Say

I’m gonna say

I’m gonna say

I’m gonna say

I want to play!

I Know It’s Yours

I know it’s yours.

I know it’s yours.

I know it’s yours.

I’ll watch and wait.

I’ll Wait

I’ll wait.

I’ll wait.

I’ll wait to play.

I Can Wait to Play

I can wait.

I can wait.

I can wait

My turn to play.

I Can Wait to Touch

I can wait.

I can wait.

I can wait

My turn to touch.

I Bite My Food

I bite my food.

And then I chew.

I chew, chew, chew.

I swallow.

Through!

Note: these next words help a toddler view from an outside-looking-in perspective.

Biting Hurts My Friend

It hurts if someone bites my friend.

It does!

It does!

Note: these words invite a toddler to admire their new sprouts while reinforcing the  purpose of teeth.

I Have Teeth Right Here!

I have teeth!

Right here!

Right here!

I bite my food.

Look!

In the mirror!

Note: Toddlers love to clap for themselves, and while these next words help a toddler to celebrate new choices, the poem also helps to reinforce the toddler’s new choices. In order to remain positive and non-shaming, these words are best used privately with the toddler and in concert with one or more of the above ditties that focus on biting food, the purpose of teeth. In addition, it’s helpful to share this poem “I Don’t Bite!” with family members who can join in celebrating their toddler’s positive new choices. And note that this poem works well for a short time and is best left behind once a biting behavior is history.

I Don’t Bite!

I will not do it.

No, I won’t!

I used to bite.

But now I don’t!

Yay!

Hey, it’s positive to end on an upbeat “Yay!” that’s all too easy to visualize coming from the tongue (and teeth) of a clap-clap-clapping toddler! Best to you and your new-Two. Please keep me posted. I care!

Link to ‘Who Chews?’

Link to ‘The Bridge is Up’

Copyright © 2015 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz




Babs Hadjusiewicz
Babs Hadjusiewicz

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