We’ve come to accept that toddlers will experiment with developmentally appropriate behaviour such as biting, hitting and pulling hair. But what if they start lashing out a little earlier than expected?
One of our listeners Natalie has a nine-month-old son who has started to bite and pull her hair. She asked Kinderling Helpline’s Mothercraft nurse Chris Minogue what she can do to discourage him.
Biting is not on purpose
“The first thing is, the biting is not intentional,” Chris assured. She recognises this is a bit strange, but normally they bite at this age when they’re completely content.
If you recognise it as repeated behaviour, one way to stop it is to pick the child up, but not facing you so there’s not the opportunity to bite. Try this for a couple days, and Chris said, “usually it just goes away.”
Listen to Chris on Kinderling Helpline:
Hair pulling is a tactile response
Chris said “[Hair] is just fascinating to them. They see hair, they want to tactile touch it, and they pull it.”
Again, if this is a repeated behaviour and you’ve come to expect it, tie your hair back for a few days. “The less he does it, the less he knows that he can do it,” Chris comforted Natalie.
Use verbal warnings
If a child does bite you or pull your hair, make a verbal signal like “uh uh uh” to indicate that it’s not a nice thing to do. Then release their hand from the hair, or mouth from your body.
“Try not to use ‘no’, only because we use ‘no’ a lot in general in parenting. So this is just like a little warning sound,” Chris said. This distracts them from what they’re doing.
Chris assures that around this nine-month-old mark, kids are very tactile, and want to explore their sense of touch. If you are consistent with this advice, they’ll quickly forget to do it at all!
Bite club: How to manage biting babies and toddlers
'Cause it HURTS.
9 easy things to introduce to your family evening routine
Because an evening routine is just as important as a morning one.
Maggie Dent's 3 top tips to teach our boys to be good men
Anyone else feeling a little lost?
I keep my kid's teeth in a jewellery box. Is that weird?
If you’re a fan of the tooth fairy then you’ve got some decisions to make, writes Shevonne Hunt.
Parents of Australia, feed yourself breakfast first!
Self-care for parents start with how we feed our bodies, says nutritonist Susie Burrell.
“Mummy, say sorry to Daddy” 7 phrases of discipline my kids use against me
Proving they do listen sometimes!
How same-sex couples divide home chores and kids-raising duties
Same, same but different...
Why primary school is the next hurdle for an anxious parent
Just when I thought I had this parenting thing sorted, my daughter started school, writes presenter Shevonne Hunt.