Biting factsheet

Is biting in children common?

Biting is a common behaviour in young children and most will go through a biting stage in the early stages of their lives.

What age are children when they start to bite?

The most usual time is in the second year of a child’s life but some children do bite when they are around three years of age.

Why do they bite?

Most biting occurs in toddlers who have little or limited language, but it usually stops as language and social skills develop. Children may also bite because of hunger, teething, anger, boredom or even just because they are inquisitive

What can be done to stop my child from biting?

It is important to handle this type of biting in a low-key fashion. Avoid laughing, even if it is funny, because otherwise your child will learn that this is something that adults seem to like. In the same way, you should also avoid getting cross because, again, children can learn that biting gives them adult attention. A good strategy is to say ‘no’ in a firm voice and even move the child away from you or the person they have bitten. This helps the child to realise that this behaviour is not acceptable and does not pay dividends.

What does the nursery do to stop biting?

Our staff are well trained in dealing with children who bite and even recognising the signs before any biting happens. The strategies we use include making a point of giving positive attention and affection to the ‘biter’ throughout the day and after they have been told that biting is not a nice thing to do; providing teething rings of all shapes and sizes; encourage children to say sorry if they have bitten others; and introducing activities, such as role-play, which demonstrate why biting is wrong.

More information

If you would like to talk to us in more detail about biting in children, please speak to a member of staff.