Any tips on getting a THREE year old to stop biting her lip?

United States
March 5, 2010 7:01pm CST
She bites her lip when she is concentrating or sleeping. She bites so hard she leaves marks of her two front teeth under her bottom lip. What can be done to stop this? Thanks in advance.
4 people like this
18 responses
@catdla1 (6005)
• United States
6 Mar 10
As long as she isn't breaking skin, I wouldn't worry about it. Better she do that than start sucking her thumb, which can damage tooth alignment. When she loses her front teeth it will probably stop naturally.
3 people like this
• United States
9 Mar 10
Interresting. I didn't know that it would stop after baby teeth are gone. Good to know. Thank you!
@bystander (2292)
• Philippines
6 Mar 10
you can already talk to a 3-year old, bearballew. but, of course, you need to use child talk in explaining that biting one's lip is not good. use examples that she can understand and show her that biting her lip would make her look ugly, at the same time the pain, discuss with her what pain is and how biting her lips can do her some pain, even make her uglier. always use nice and encouraging words, never reprimand her.
• United States
9 Mar 10
I've told her that it makes owies on her lip. Of course, she can't see it, so maybe next time I'll get a mirror and show her. She also loves lipstick, so I tell her that she can't have lipstick if she's going to bite it off.
@bystander (2292)
• Philippines
11 Mar 10
with a three-year old, you really have to be patient, bearballew. you need to be very creative too in putting your hands down. and non-verbals also help. good luck...
• Canada
6 Mar 10
Try observing her during the day, and catch her everytime you find her doing it. Let her know it's not OK, and why. Alert her teachers, and other caregivers, so that they may also tell her to stop doing it. Eventually she should get out of the habit, and may not do it as much whe nshe's sleeping. If she stops doing it as a habit during her waking hours, but still continues to do it when she is sleeping, consult her doctor.
2 people like this
• United States
9 Mar 10
Yes, we're all on her about it. I've also taken her blankey away from everywhere BUT her bed. Trying to get her to learn it's just for sleeping.
• Canada
6 Mar 10
How old is she? If she is very young, it could become attention seeking behaviour, so ignore it and she'll stop.
1 person likes this
• Canada
6 Mar 10
What happens when you mention it to her? "Oh, look, sweetie. You made a mark on your lip." Maybe if she is reminded AS she is doing it, if it is possibly unconscious, then she may be able to stop herself. But she'll probably grow out of it.
• United States
11 Mar 10
Well, she is three and it just started. I think she saw me doing it while I was driving. Because then I noticed that I do it too! She may be wanting to be like ME! Poor thing.. I tell her and she hides. She covers her head with her blankey. So we've told her Blankie needs to stay on her bed and it's ony for bedtime or cuddling. She doesn't seem to care that she's got bite marks on her lip. She just likes the way it feels I guess. Thanks for your help!
@spalladino (17891)
• United States
6 Mar 10
If she's doing it when she's concentrating or asleep, she's not intentionally doing it so there's not a whole lot that you can do. Putting a small dab of Vicks under her bottom lip may help but I think the only thing that's really going to work is time.
2 people like this
• United States
11 Mar 10
Yeah I keep telling myself that... time does change a lot of habits. We'll just keep gently reminding her to stop. Thanks for your input!
• United States
6 Mar 10
I agree with the first responder, maybe she'll grow out of it. If not, just use a "head fake" when she does this. Maybe trick her into concentrating on what she's doing so much that she won't bite her lip. One head fake might be to tell her to stand up against the wall so you can measure her height, don't tell her to stand up straight, just tell her to stand, maybe she'll forget all about the lip bitting because she'll be so excited about seeing how tall she is you know, just little things that kids like that they concentrate on but get excited about because theres some kind of "incentive" at the end (like seeing how tall they are or winning a 'hard' game). Maybe play little fun games with her or something. If not, she'll grow out of it - my cousin has the same habit he bites his bottom lip, but not that hard, unnfortunately he's 18 now lol :)
2 people like this
• United States
11 Mar 10
Yeah I do it too. I'm wondering if it can be broken. I didn't even know I did it until I noticed she's doing it recently! How weird, eh? I do play games with her like Memory and letters and she loves puzzles. Every day we do puzzles. I'll watch and see if she does it then. Great ideas people! Thank you!
• United States
7 Mar 10
i'm not sure if she's big enough,but you might take her to a dentist and have a bite guard made.i used to grind my teeth in my sleep and occasionally bit my tongue-that stopped it.
@dragon54u (31636)
• United States
6 Mar 10
She's obviously worried that she won't do well enough. Let her relax. If you notice that she does it (for example) if she's building with Legos, ask her what she would do if the building fell down. Let her know it's okay if it does, it's just blocks and bricks. Put things in perspective. Perhaps she wants everything to be perfect, she's an overachiever or she feels the need to please everyone--nip that in the bud right now and let her know it's okay if things don't go the way she wants them to, it's no big deal. Because there's always another chance when you're that age but if you expect perfection that early, you're in for a life of misery. Find out what is stressing her and stop it. Help her be a child, not a perfectionist. I may be way off base here but that's why one of my sons bit his nails. This approach worked well with him.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Mar 10
Interresting idea! She also does it when watching TV or a movie. I have had this conversation with my Lego Maniac. He'd get sooo upset when things fell apart that I told him "the bst things about Legos is you can rebuild them!" I'll watch a little closer and see what I notice. Right now it's mostly TV and sleeping.
@celticeagle (156425)
• Boise, Idaho
6 Mar 10
I wouldn't worry about it too much. It doesn't sound serious. Alot of people bite their lips when thinking or alittle nervous. It may very well be something your child will grow out of. I think sometimes we worry over things that aren't that important because we love our children and want the very best for them. Especially our first ones. I will venture to guess that she will move on to more interesting, sometimes irritating and even worrisome habits as time goes on.
@bestboy19 (5478)
• United States
8 Mar 10
Maybe if you put something foul tasting on them, she might stop.
@bhanusb (5709)
• India
6 Mar 10
Is your child do so? Take advice from a child specialist. I think he/she is the proper person to stop the habit of biting lip of the child.
• United States
11 Mar 10
Very good response. She will have her check up soon. I will bring it up there. Thank you for great advice.
@paula27661 (15811)
• Australia
7 Mar 10
My daughter has been sucking her thumb since she was three or four months old, she’s eight now and although she has stopped doing it during the day she still does it in her sleep and there is not a great deal I can do about it. We don’t know how badly she has damaged her teeth, the dentist is still not certain at this point, but we will deal with fixing them when the time is right. As far as your little one and the lip biting. You can certainly discourage her from doing it while she is awake but while she is asleep I am at a loss as to what you could do...At least she is not doing any damage to the alignment of her teeth...
@bing28 (3795)
• Philippines
9 Mar 10
My grandson who is 5 months old keep on biting her finger but good he has no teeth yet, while I'm stopping him in doing so, my son who's a third year Psychology student advised me not to stop him as there's a stage for every thing a child does, that if you won't allow them at this stage they would do it when they grow up.
@dorannmwin (36392)
• United States
8 Mar 10
I wish that I had a great tip that I could share with you, but I can't even get my seven year old to stop sucking her thumb. I just don't know what I can do about that problem. You said that she is leaving marks when she bites her lip, but is she making it bleed? If she has never made it bleed then there really isn't any incentive for her to quit biting her lip. However, the first time that she makes her lip bleed, she probably won't bite again because of the nasty taste of blood.
@Lakota12 (42602)
• United States
6 Mar 10
my grandsona dn grand daughter diod this and made sores on the bottom lip when they found it hurt so much they stopped . thats all I know about this my kids didnt do it
@zandi458 (28102)
• Malaysia
6 Mar 10
She will outgrow her habit and you should not be unduly worried. Children normally have weird habits like sucking the corner ends of a pillow or sucking their thumbs. That is just normal.
@bingchen (1119)
• China
6 Mar 10
it become habit so she need to see the doctor,i believe that doctor can cure her problem
@gtloquero (271)
• Philippines
6 Mar 10
When she does it while sleeping, better watch out for that. And when she does it while concentrating, then better give her alternatives like eating a hard candy etc. This may lead into a habit. By the way, how old is your child?