DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I have been watching my triplet grandchildren two days a week ever since my daughter returned to work from maternity leave. They are 16 months old and two of them have started biting, which none of my kids ever did. Mostly they bite each other, but one will occasionally bite our dog, who thank God, is a sport about it and just gets up and walks away. Still, it worries me. I have spoken to my daughter and my son-in-law, and they say they have seen it happen only one or two times. I don’t doubt them, but it does not help to think I am doing something wrong. Am I? --- CHOMPERS’ GRANDMA
DEAR CHOMPERS’ GRANDMA: I discussed this issue with an experienced early childhood professional I know, and she assured me that this is something she’s encountered from time to time through the years, and that it’s a normal developmental stage for some young children before they develop spoken language skills. They want to be understood, but don’t know how to get their needs or emotions across. She acknowledged this can be a frustrating situation, both for the parents of the biter and those being bit.
Her advice is to immediately, consistently, and firmly say, “No biting,” when you catch the offending toddler in the act. It won’t work overnight, but it usually does the trick.