Here is a question from Justin. He says he has 20-month-old boy/girl twins, and he says the biggest issue right now is biting. “Do you have any advice on how to keep them from biting each other? That would be great.”
Biting is a challenge with any kid, of course. But particularly twins because they’re usually playing together, or spending time together and it’s much easier for them to want to reach out and bite each other. So when our twins would bite each other, we would stop the behavior, we would verbally explain that biting was not acceptable, and then we would redirect the offending twin into another activity. And this worked okay for us as long as we were consistent in our enforcement.
Of course your twins are going to start to look for the limits of your discipline, and they’ll start to challenge that. But if you are consistent in the actions that you take as a parent to counteract their bad behavior they’ll start to seek attention in other ways.
Find the Why
Try to identify why your twins are biting in the first place. Are they teething? Do they want attention? Is it triggered by something that’s happening in your home or the actions of others? And then try to address the root cause instead of just the symptom of biting. But of course when your child is biting the other child, you definitely have to stop their behavior, because it’s not acceptable and can clearly cause distress for the other child.
Encourage your twins to use their words to express what they want, if they want to share, or if they need some help, or if someone is doing something that doesn’t make them happy. Now even at a very young age they may not have words because they can’t talk yet.
We taught our kids basic baby signs so they could express themselves a little bit. And that helped us communicate with them much earlier than we would have otherwise. So that may be an option you want to consider. Teach them some basic baby signs so they can express when they want something, when they want more of something, or when they’re done with something. It’s going to help mitigate frustrations that they have in communicating and deter biting as well.
This topic was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Episode 64: Organizing Preparations, Other Children, Biting.
Picture by Donnie Ray Jones