Hitting and/or biting is always communication
The first piece of advice I have for you, especially if you’re an educator, is to start re-framing you thinking. Hitting and biting is often thought of in terms of behaviour. A behaviour that must be stopped or extinguished (one of my least favourite terms).
However, to really get to the route cause, you need to start by considering communication. You need to reframe your thinking, remove the word behaviour, and replace it with the question – ‘What is this child communicating?’
This is because, most of the time, hitting and biting are forms of communication. Children who are non-verbal/pre-verbal often use these actions to express their needs, preferences or wants. Even children who have some language use these actions when they are overloaded, or when they don’t have sufficient social communication skills.
In addition, over time, hitting and biting can become a learnt behaviour. In these cases, it is highly likely when it began; it was a form of communication. The child has just learnt that it works to get the response that they need.
What might trigger hitting or biting?
Every child is different, so the triggers will always be unique to that individual. Common triggers for biting or hitting include: