While it’s shocking and probably embarrassing when your child bites, it’s not unusual behavior for young kids. For example, when children are overcome with feelings such as anger, fear, frustration or disappointment because another child has possession of a toy they want, they don’t have the language to express it.

You help the child by stating how he might feel, and providing him with the solutions (new words, thoughts, and behaviors) that he cannot find on his own. It’s important to help the child figure out what thought, feeling, or perception caused the escalation. Awareness provides the opportunity to make a different choice next time.


5 Reasons Why Kids Bite

1. They do not have the language, words or ability to express what they need to say.

2. They are frustrated, upset or irritated, and biting seems to be the quickest way for them to communicate this.

3. The child is overwhelmed by sensory input when several other children are present.

4. Even though the child “knows” biting hurts on a cognitive level, he may not have developed the emotional maturity to control this urge when frustrated.

5. At a young age, biting is normal and needs to be redirected.


As an international speaker, Dr. Kenney provides research-based education to clinicians, parents and teachers across the US, Canada and Europe. Her BrainSmart behavioral, social-emotional and developmental interventions enhance children’s skill sets for better family and school functioning. Lynne integrates neuroscience, executive function, exercise and music research to enhance brain function in children. 

Her co-authored book Bloom: 50 things to Say, Think and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top Kids (Kenney & Young, 2015) introduces BrainSmart strategies to families and teachers worldwide. Lynne’s collaborative parenting philosophy is described in her 2009 book The Family Coach Method. Dr. Kenney’s current cause-related focus is on teaching motor math to under-served elementary school populations through Play Math.

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