Before I start, let me preface this with it’s not just twins and multiples that bite!! It’s a stage that a lot of toddlers seem to go through. But for a lot of multiple birth parents, it’s extremely frustrating when you have two (or three!) who seem to constantly be biting each other.
What you need to remember is that toddlers generally bite for a reason. And unfortunately, at this age, they just don’t have adequate language skills to express what their problem is. For a parent of twins or triplets, this problem is exacerbated when you have several toddlers who are all at the same developmental stage at the same time.
General reasons toddlers may bite:
- Expressing their frustration at something
- They are tired or overwhelmed
- They are teething
- Biting can give them a sense of power, due to the reaction they get
This problem, however, is multiplied when you have twins or triplets. There are also other reasons multiples may bite. And this is predominantly to do with personal space and sharing toys. It is just a fact of growing up as a multiple. When you are a multiple birth toddler there will always be someone in your personal space. On top of that you are expected to share toys, plus share your parents, your snacks, your water bottle, your afternoon tea and even your bed on occasions. Being with someone 24/7 and not being able to talk is going to lead to frustration, which in turn add in a bit of over tiredness and teething, all leads to biting to voice dissatisfaction.
The biggest tool you have is to try to anticipate it. This may take a bit of close observation before you can start to anticipate it, (and react!) in time to prevent it from happening. Look back at what was happening before the bite occurred and then see if you can work out why the bitee bit.
Once you learn to anticipate it you can put in place some tools to prevent it from occurring. This could be anything from “solving” the problem that is causing them to bite (this may be as simple as understanding that they just need a few extra one-on-one cuddles, or maybe you need to make two separate plates of afternoon tea) or having some distraction techniques up your sleeve. I can’t tell you the number of red birds that magically appeared outside our lounge room window when my twins were toddlers! Sadly they always flew away before they got to see them!!!
If however there is a bite, try to not show too much of a reaction. Get down to eye level and explain that biting hurts and that they are not to bite. And of course, having multiples, you somehow need to do this while comforting the child that was bitten! Then find an activity that will allow them to each have some space.
Remember, biting is just a stage, and it will soon pass. Being a parent is tough, and sometimes being a parent of multiples is doubly or triply tough. I’m sure you are doing a great job!
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