Biting the hand—and everything else

Dear Mr. Dad: My toddler (17 months old) has been biting his three-year-old sister at home for the past week or so. Now I’ve learned from his daycare provider that he’s biting other children there as well. She’s not happy about that, of course, and I’m worried they’ll kick him out. I’ve tried lecturing him and giving him timeouts, but nothing works. What can I do to help him stop this behavior?

A: First of all, it’s important to understand that biting is a pretty normal behavior for a toddler. Children often bite when they’re tired, teething, jealous, or just plain frustrated. And sometimes they’re conducting little science experiments, wondering what would happen if they bit something—or someone—new. It’s an odd (to us anyway) but pretty effective way of exploring and testing out the world around them.
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