November 2011 Moms

biting and time outs?

I'm just trying to figure out SOMETHING to discourage biting.  It's been getting worse (or at the very least, no better).  I've inconsistently done things such as:

* simply avoiding her biting me (90% of the time I see it coming and can just prevent it from happening....but she still tries)

* say firmly "No biting!  Hurt Mommy!"

* fake crying/sound extra hurt

* completely ignore it

* say "No biting", put her down and walk away

As I said, I've been inconsistent and had no luck.  I'm just trying to find one method and stick with it to see if that helps.  So I was thinking of a time out for a minute but didn't know if that was a good idea.

Has anyone tried time outs with their LOs?  I just wonder if it would be effective at this age. (Or for those with older LOs - when did you start time outs?)  Or for those with biters - what have you done that has been successful?  And how long did it take to work?  Thanks!

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Re: biting and time outs?

  • This sounds horrible, but I feel like raising a 1 year old is like training a dog.  I would ignore or say "gentle" and redirect.  Reacting makes it fun and they continue to do it.  Also, consistency is key with any type of behavior modification.

    I believe time outs are not effective until after age 2.  I feel the child needs a better verbal understanding for a time out to be effective.  They need to understand what they did is wrong and why they need to cool down.

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  • I definitely don't think that the timeout would be successful at this age. They just don't understand that the consequences you are applying to their actions are connected. If think if you set them in their crib, they wouldn't think that biting was the reason. As far as the biting itself, I would just keep redirecting.
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  • image mbgreenwalt:

    This sounds horrible, but I feel like raising a 1 year old is like training a dog.  I would ignore or say "gentle" and redirect.  Reacting makes it fun and they continue to do it.  Also, consistency is key with any type of behavior modification.

    I believe time outs are not effective until after age 2.  I feel the child needs a better verbal understanding for a time out to be effective.  They need to understand what they did is wrong and why they need to cool down.

    This completely!  I know that being inconsistent like I have isn't helping, that's why I was hoping to find an idea on one strategy to take.  But I think you are also right that by reacting, it turns it into a game.  DD attempts to bite and if I stop her before she bites she shakes her head no.  So I can't tell if she knows it's wrong and is saying no to indicate or if it's more of a game reaction that momma says no so she'll shake her head.  Anyway...  

    To make it worse, I actually kind of think the biting is funny but I don't want it to get out of hand.  Maybe I just need to continue my avoiding being bit as much as possible.

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  • image gracefulruby33:
    I definitely don't think that the timeout would be successful at this age. They just don't understand that the consequences you are applying to their actions are connected. If think if you set them in their crib, they wouldn't think that biting was the reason. As far as the biting itself, I would just keep redirecting.

    Yeah, the other thing I wasn't sure about with trying a time out would be where would it be??  In my head, I'd sit her somewhere but it's not like she'd stay.  And I'm not sure I'd want her to be in her crib as a place for a timeout.  

    I do try to redirect by offering her something else to chew on, but she's not interested in any of that....she likes human flesh too much.  (heh heh heh)

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  • DD isn't a biter but she hits and scratches us when she is mad. We started giving her a timeout in her crib for one minute and her hitting has decreased. We give a warning after the first time she does it, "If you do that again you'll go in your crib." and then if she does it again we put her in the crib for one minute without a blanket/paci and when we get her out we cuddle her and tell her why we had to put her in her crib. Now 90% of the time she will stop after the warning.

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  • image mbgreenwalt:

    Reacting makes it fun and they continue to do it.  Also, consistency is key with any type of behavior modification.

    This advice really hits home. My DD is biting, she will bit my arm for some reason (and yes, that statement is proof that I need to lose weight, if she can manage to bite fat on my arm!!) I tell her "no" firmly and she just laughs and smiles at me! It's very frustrating! I will try to just redirect from now on and tell her to be gentle. "Be gentle" and redirecting is what helped with her when she was hair pulling... I don't know why I'm not using that for the biting!

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  • Agree with PPs; no time outs yet. DD is into biting right now, too. I don't react dramatically (although it's hard when she actually gets me. It's instinctual to jump and yell "Ow!"). I say "You may not bite Mommy. You may bite this." Then I stick whatever's close in her mouth - a sippy, a toy, etc. Sometimes she bites it, sometimes she doesn't. The key is consistency, so you may have to repeat this 20 times before she gives up. It's like Survivor - you have to outlast her!
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  • image Estwd2:
    Agree with PPs; no time outs yet. DD is into biting right now, too. I don't react dramatically (although it's hard when she actually gets me. It's instinctual to jump and yell "Ow!"). I say "You may not bite Mommy. You may bite this." Then I stick whatever's close in her mouth - a sippy, a toy, etc. Sometimes she bites it, sometimes she doesn't. The key is consistency, so you may have to repeat this 20 times before she gives up. It's like Survivor - you have to outlast her!

    I agree with this, don't react dramatically - DC will get a rise out of it.  If it's enough to hurt you, give direction; "you need to be gentle with mommy, you may bite this instead".  I try to avoid the whole "no you can't do __" just because I'm concerned that all she would hear is the __ part, and save the "NOs" for when it's important.  If I were you, Natty, I'd try and avoid the biting as much as possible and at the times you didn't get out of the way fast enough, I'd give DC directions on what is ok.  I read in all my little baby emails that if they hear 'no' too much they will tune it out, so like I said, I just like to give DD direction on why the result is not ok and then give her direction on what is ok.  For now. 

    As for time outs, I haven't done this but I have yanked DD out of a situation where she hit when she was mad and sat her butt down by the wall and explained "Hitting is naughty.  You must be gentle and nice to Mommy." All while I am right in her face dead serious.  She seems to listen to me because when I take that tone, she leans her head in for me to kiss it as if to say sorry and gives me a hug.  Other times she gives me the death stare but sitting her bottom down in a "time out space" long enough for to take her out of the situation, explain what she did wrong, and for her to kinda be distracted from whatever she was doing seems to work for us. 

    But as for giving time outs in the crib, this would be a huge no-no to me.  I do not want to teach DD that her crib or her room is a punishment in any way.  If it was important for her to have a time out, or to be removed from a situation to calm down by herself, I would set the pack and play up somewhere since this isn't something that is ever used for her so there would be no harm in her seeing the pack and play as a punishment/bad thing. 

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  • image Estwd2:
    Agree with PPs; no time outs yet. DD is into biting right now, too. I don't react dramatically (although it's hard when she actually gets me. It's instinctual to jump and yell "Ow!"). I say "You may not bite Mommy. You may bite this." Then I stick whatever's close in her mouth - a sippy, a toy, etc. Sometimes she bites it, sometimes she doesn't. The key is consistency, so you may have to repeat this 20 times before she gives up. It's like Survivor - you have to outlast her!

     

    I like this.  I'd re-direct her attention to something she CAN bite, like a toy or teether. 

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  • Thanks, y'all!  I need to consider what my verbal response will be (so it's something DH and I can be consistent with) and I think I will try to be consistent in offering her something else that is okay to bite.  Yesterday she bit me HARD on the shoulder (I thought she was just going in for a snuggle!).  Argh....

    LOL at the Survivor comment - yep!  Outwit, outlast, outplay!  It's something like that with a one year old!  :)

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  • Time outs are not at all effective until age 2. They still cannot correlate a consequence to something they did. When DS bites, I say "no biting. It hurts when you bite" every time. It was tough, but he is biting less and less. So definitely stick with something and be consistent. It should get better.

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