Timeout! – “My son or daughter is biting other kids.”

Toddler Toddler: Timeout- share what you do about children biting other kids.

This is the first of our “Timeout!” posts, where I’ll share situations that some of our fans are experiencing and others can comment with any thoughts or methods that they have tried. As a group, let’s show these fans how much we care and share any encouraging thoughts.

Stressed posted:

My son is very aggressive and is still biting at 3 years old.

little ace posted:

For the most part, I’m very proud of how my son handles most situations (he’s 2 years 3 months)……but, as of late, he’s bitten a peer twice when they’ve taken a toy from him or pushed him. Any ideas of how I can continue to help him make a better non-biting decision in the heat of the moment? We role play and talk things out simply at home but I feel helpless as to how to help him in the “heat of the moment” if I’m not there with him. He goes to a wonderful daycare but I know they can’t have their eyes glued to him ALL the time. The discipline given at daycare has been a time out but at your recent webinar you mentioned to avoid those. Any ideas of some kind of discipline when/if he bites or acts aggressively to a situation and also how we can help him make those better decisions in the heat of the moment? Thank you!

Have you dealt with this? What have you tried? Comment below and share your experiences!



  1. When our son bit another child the first time, we spoke to him in a very general matter that that’s not how we treat others and it hurts. We would then take away the toy that he wanted to play with and give it to the other child. We’d also have him go to the other child and give a nice hug, or gentle pat on the arm and say “Be gentle”.

  2. Toddler Teacher says:

    I am a toddler teacher and I deal with this situation almost on a daily basis sometimes. Granted this works in a group of children, but I like to get down on the “biter’s” level and firmly say that “biting is not nice”. I then have the biter be my “friend”. I keep the biter by my side and have him/her help me with what I need to do in the class. I have found this method has made biters almost nonexistent in my room at the moment. I guess mostly it is re-direction and keeping the biter engaged in other activities.

  3. Teacher of 2-3 year olds says:

    I also have also had to deal with this issue on numerous occasions. I found the best way was not to punish/consequence the biter but find out what the trigger to the biting was. I watched from a distance and saw that a couple of other children had found how to push this child’s buttons to make him angry and the result an impressive outburst that led to some one being bitten. I took the biter aside after I had calmed him. I made sure he understood that I was not going to tell him off I wanted to help him so he didn’t get told off. I then told him biting was not o.k. and I knew the other children made him feel angry. So we practiced saying and even yelling STOP and holding up his hand in the stop position. When I heard him use this strategy. I would make sure the other child did stop and praised the ex biter. It was also important to talk generally to the other children that if someone does something that they do not like to use the same strategy. I also stressed to the children that if someone says stop you have to stop. I hope this helps.

  4. Karen Emberley says:

    I don’t have children myself but I remember my sister and brother-in-law who have 2 children would never spank for misbehaviour but if they were aggressive with mom or dad they got a good one from mom or dad.

    When I asked Mario why he chose to spank at that moment, he answered

    “It teaches the child in a controlled way (ie he spanked on the bottom where they had lots of meat and spanked hard enough to startle them a bit but not so hard that they got injured) what often happens when you bite or hit someone. It comes right back in your face. My neice and nephew are not angels, but they are not hitters and biters thanks to Mario and Janet

  5. My children are very active, but not aggressive. i have a 2 and 3 yr old. Timeout doesn’t work for them.if you try ignoring their fits, they’ll tire out. As for biting, they know better. My children don’t bite, but if they did i wouldn’t hesitate to pop them in the mouth. theres nothing wrong with discipline, and no it doesn’t scar your child. If you just try and say “that wasn’t nice” then dont be surprised when they become bullies. . Or worse. .

  6. I had my daughter bite me good one time I did not hit her but brushed her lips in a downward motion. Doing this startled her more than anything and did not injure her in anyway. I showed her what she did and how badly it hurt mommy. She tried to bite me once more a few weeks later and I immediately stopped her when I saw her going in. I explained that is not how to get my attention and if she had something to talk about than she needed to ise her big girl words. Every child is different but I do disagree with other people. Hitting a child in anyway can set grounds for that childs behavior in fhe future. Just because they will not be able to recall the events does not mean it has not been implanted in their minds. There really are better ways to approach your child the main thing is to remove the child from that area to a different setting even a different room than proceed to explain. Even as adults we will not reason when we are upset why would you expect this from your toddler. Good luck hope you can find a solution that works for you all children differ but at the end of the day mommy and daddy know best.