Toddler Behavior: How To Stop Children From Grinding Their Teeth

Another good question from the Parent Coaching files: Toddlers who grind their teeth. Why do they do it, and are we -- as parents -- doing anything to cause it? And more importantly, how can we get it to STOP?!

For some, this is a nighttime tendency that seems to be hereditary. For others, it's a passing phase -- and more likely to be heard in the daytime.

Teeth-grinding is usually just a really annoying -- but common and normal -- thing for toddlers. Aside from any medical causes you must rule out first -- dehydration, nutritional deficiencies and pinwoms (yech, I know) being among the rare but true culprits -- it's probably not a reason to worry.  It's likely related to all those new choppers growing in -- she's getting used to them. Grinding is a way to feel where they are, make weird new sounds with them, and "sand down" the sharp points that often accompany new teeth. It may also alleviate the pain of teething. PLUS, it's a way to irritate you, if you show it gets under your skin! So watch your reaction -- getting upset about it might be just the fuel she needs to start doing it all the time.

The majority of these cases aren't caused by -- or reflective of -- any parenting flaw. You can  think of other ways to occupy her energy, time, and mouth -- like singing, word games, and crunchy snacks. But don't pay too much attention to the grinding itself. My strong recommendation is to IGNORE IT. I know it can be like nails on a chalkboard, but really -- there is no other way. The more you point it out, the more likely she is to increase the grinding. If your toddler still does it frequently after a few weeks, then it's time to have it checked by a good pediatric dentist. But I bet you'll be on to the next parenting dilemma by then.

Aloha,

Dr. Heather The BabyShrink Mom of Four, Parenting Expert

Potty Training Tips: Handling The Grossest Problem Yet, Poop Smearing

BabyShrink readers Angie, Sharon and Stacy have emailed me over the past few weeks with the same horrified question: Why is my toddler suddenly smearing poop everywhere, and HOW CAN I GET THAT DISGUSTING BEHAVIOR TO STOP?! Although I tried to offer some suggestions, I had never experienced the same thing with my kids, so I really didn't have much "oomph" behind my answers.

And then the Great Karmic Finger pointed at my household. And that finger had poop smeared on it.

Our TT is now 2 1/2. He's kinda-sorta potty trained. He's healthy (minus one hernia, which I will update everyone on later in the week), developmentally on-track, and he's got the "easiest" temperament of all our three kids. But over the past few weeks, it's happened three times; he's pooped in his diaper, then reached in to decorate his crib with it. And it's the grossest clean-up job I've ever had to do.

Your story is similar. Your toddler is somewhat engaged in potty training. They're at the age when they can understand most of what we're telling them...and certainly understand that poop is yucky. Then all of a sudden, you discover your little darling has smeared poop all over the place. Reader Sharon tells her stinky story this way, "She's in her crib about to nap, and I hear the usual noises of her just talking to herself. Then I hear this: “Mommy, yucky.” So I go in there and see the worse scene of my life!!!! She apparently had a poopy diaper, took it off, and proceeded to smear the walls, her crib and everything in the vicinity with poop. I was mortified! I quickly yanked her up, stripped her down and got in her the bath as fast as possible. I had to call my husband and tell him to come home so I could sanitize her room. Ugh, it was awful!"

Is This Normal? Yes dear reader, it is. Not necessarily common, but normal. A 2-year-old is struggling with attempting to master his own body, to control it's functions, and is quite curious about his productions. (They don't call it the Anal Stage for nothin'!) Preschool teachers will tell you it's common to see children this age quite interested in messes, too. They can alternate between being quite the obsessive neat-freak, OR the poop-smearing opposite -- as they struggle to master this stage. I would say, however, that poop-smearing past the age of 3 1/2 -- 4 would concern me. An evaluation, starting with your pediatrician, should occur in that case.

How Do I Get It To Stop?! First, know that, for an otherwise typically developing toddler, this should be a time-limited, passing phase. Nobody likes the smell of poop. It's an experiment that is naturally self-limiting!

The most important thing is to control your own reaction. Don't overreact; you risk reinforcing the behavior. If Junior knows that Mom will FREAK every time this happens, he's got a potent weapon to use, when necessary! Instead, calmly say "Yucky. Poop is dirty. It belongs in your diaper or the potty. No more touching poop." As grossed out as you may be, take a deep breath (outside of the room!), clean up the offensive little beast first, and close up the room until you have backup. You'll need time, and someone to watch Mr. Stinky, while you break out the Clorox.

Next, it's time to get practical and LIMIT ACCESS TO THE DIAPER. Go out and find some toddler sized "onesies", or other one-piece clothing. Some creative parents have even put one-piece PJs on backwards to further limit access to the diaper area. Keep them clothed this way as needed, until the phase has passed.

Also, take it as a sign of interest in potty-training. Use it as an opportunity to review the proper use of the potty, and validate their interest in poop. "Here, make your poop in your potty. Then when you're done, you can look at it. We don't touch it, but you can look at it if you want to see what it looks like."

Finally, create opportunities for your creative genius to make acceptable messes. One of the hallmarks of this phase is the desire to make -- and clean up -- messes. It's how we eventually learn to keep things clean and organized, and how to handle all the messes in life. So it's a vitally important lesson to learn. Offer messy finger painting, kitchen mixing and squashing, and outdoor mud play, liberally. Talk about it, as you do. "I know you want to make messes. THIS is a good place to make a mess. I will help you clean it up later. Here, let's make a mess together!"

Hope that helps, Gang. Happy Cleaning!

Aloha,

Dr. Heather The BabyShrink Mom of Four, Parenting Expert

PS: THIS POST HAS BECOME MY ALL-TIME MOST-READ ENTRY! (Is that weird, or what?!) FOR MORE TIPS ON THIS GROSSEST OF PROBLEMS, SEE MORE OF MY THOUGHTS ON IT HERE.

Toddler Behavior: How To Stop A 3-Year-Old's Annoying Nail Picking Habit

Hi Baby Shrink!

I learned of your website from Dad Gone Mad and have really enjoyed your no-nonsense approach. Can you help? My 3-year-old picks her nails, and has done so since she was a little over 2.  She’s just taking off any “extra”, she doesn’t make them hurt or bleed. I definitely notice it more when we’re laying in her bed reading stories just before nap or bed. I notice she does it every other day, or every 3rd day. I pick and bite my own nails, a habit I would love to break! I try not to do it in front of her. How did she pick this habit up? Was I not as diligent as I thought about not doing it in front of her, or is this a way of dealing with boredom/stress, or genetic? She has never used a pacifier, so maybe this is her way of self-soothing? I have ignored it so far, but I would love to help her break this habit if possible. She is definitely a kid who, if I tell her not to do something, then that's all she'll want to do. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Kim from Florida

Hi Kim,

In a situation like this, the rule is: Don't Pay Attention To It.

If you do, you risk turning a harmless self-soothing strategy into a power struggle and a nasty habit. Self-soothing strategies, like the one you describe, are very personal little "quirks" that we ALL have. (As you say, you have one yourself! Isn't it funny how they "get" these things from us, somehow?) Other kids suck their thumbs or pick their noses. Right? Be glad she doesn't do one of those things, which can be harder to tolerate! ;)

She needs her little harmless thing that she does to help her wind down after a long day. It's OK. In fact, you WANT her to be comfortable at home, with you, being herself. With something as harmless as this, you don't want to point it out or make a big deal...just let her be comfortable "letting it all hang out" at home.

I’ve been re-reading Anna Freud recently. To my mind, she’s the theoretical “mother” of child specialists like Brazelton and Ginott. The youngest daughter of Sigmund showed the world how fantastically diverse childhood behavior is. She also helped us sympathize with the really difficult challenges inherent in being a child, with developmental changes and dilemmas around every corner.

It’s hard being a kid! It’s even harder being a little kid!

They don’t have the mental capacity of an adult; not even close. They think completely differently. They’re always feeling incompetent and inadequate in this world full of grown-ups. And therefore, they need lots of (usually) temporary self-soothing strategies to simply get through the day. The bottom line is: Kids Do Weird Things. Lots Of Those Weird Things Are Completely Normal.

Your daughter’s age is a key factor here. Developmentally, 3-year-olds simply don’t give a rip how they appear to others. They don’t have the capacity to imagine how their behavior might impact someone’s impression of them. When your daughter is closer to 6 or 7, she will start to care HOW she appears to others; her friends (not you!). She will then more closely monitor her behavior for what is socially acceptable. But that internal desire is nowhere near appearing now.

I know it can make you nuts, as a parent. In our house, so far, we've had to cope with thumb sucking, bottle dependence, compulsive belly-button exploration, absent-minded crotch-grabbing, and repetitive throat clearing. (Note: these habits are presented in no particular order so as not to embarrass any of BabyShrink's children...at least one of whom can now read!) So when you see your daughter picking her nails, all you can do is take a deep breath, and look away. Continue on with whatever else you were doing. If need be, offer her something else to fiddle with, and see if she takes it. But she probably won't...not for long, anyhow.

Unfortunately, I can't help you "break" your daughter of the habit. In fact, the more you TRY to "break" her of it...the more she is likely to DO IT. Toddlers are amazing that way. They somehow find EXACTLY what it is that makes you NUTS....and do that. (Over, and over, and over...)

Sorry I can't "fix" this one, but at least now you know it's really common, and not to worry. Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

Aloha,

Dr. Heather The BabyShrink

Toddler Behavior: My Child Won't Leave His Binky

Dear BabyShrink, My two-year-old will not cope without his pacifier. He keeps it in his mouth at all times. I am afraid it is delaying his speech as he has quite a few words, but most of the time tries to talk with the button in his face. I have always hated it when I see toddlers running around with plugs in their mouth, and (as Karma always works) I can't get him to get over his. He won't go to sleep without it, and if he realizes it's missing for more than an hour or so, he starts crying and won't stop until it's found. This can be very tiring for my mom, who watches him during the day, because very often we don't know where he lost it. Most of the time it's found after 30 minutes of searching, buried in the bottom of his toy box, or mixed into the dirty laundry hamper. My question is this? Should he still be so dependent on this silly piece of rubber? If not, how can I get rid of it without him completely flipping out?

Tired of Searching, Las Vegas

Dear Tired, Yeah, I have one of those at home too. There are different schools of thought about this: we have a pediatrician who tells us to lose the Binky after 6 months, and a pediatric dentist who says "Hey, it's better than a thumb! Don't worry about it! Orthodontia is a lot cheaper than psychiatry!" (I swear, she really said this, not knowing I'm a psychologist). I've also heard that Binks can delay speech -- but I've seen too many kids explain the whole storyline of a Super Why! episode with a Binky firmly in place, so I'm not convinced on that front.

Psychologically, there is something to the notion that a toddler is working very hard on independence, and Binkies and other comfort “loveys” are there to help support that independence. There is so much turmoil in a toddler’s life. Things are so out of their control, and a little self-soothing goes a long way. This won’t hurt him psychologically; rather, it tells him that Mom and Dad will support him in his efforts to cope and make himself feel better. He will move on, when he’s ready for the next step, developmentally (which will probably be the annoying preschooler’s habit of: Nose-picking! Betcha can’t wait for that one!)

On the other hand, many kids will be ready to give up the Bink, and won’t put up more than a couple of days of fight about it. It depends on how irritating it is to you, and also how willing you are to pick this particular battle, with this particular toddler, at this particular time.

So what's a parent to do?

You have 2 choices:

If you're really sick of it, go for it and decide to spend your precious parental effort, time and sanity on an eliminate the Binky" plan. What worked for us with our oldest (when we still had the time and energy to fight this particular battle) was to, first, have a conversation about it: now that you're 2 years old, you're big enough to not have the Binky except for in your crib. The Binky stays in the crib, now for sleep only. Expect protests, and try to have a substitute ready that might (reluctantly) be accepted (blanket, stuffed animal). Then phase out Binky over a week or so, explaining that "you're big enough now without it, here's your (blanket, animal) instead.

Stick with the program. Sympathize mightily with the feelings of hurt over the lost Bink, but make a huge deal out of, “Now that you’re such a big boy without a Binky, look at all the cool things you can do now! Only babies have a Binky.” Once it's over, it'll probably be over. binkyla3

(Photo: Little did she know she'd eventually be subjected to the eliminate the Binky plan.)

OR:

Decide that "resistance is futile", and buy 15 or 20 more Binks to leave around the house, diaper bag, crib, car, etc, etc, so that at least you're not going crazy looking for them everywhere. That's actually what we do with our youngest right now. But we are making a concerted effort to talk to him about, the fact that; “The Binky is for the house. Binky does not go to the store. Say "bye" to Binky, we'll see him when we get back to the car"; getting him ready for the day, closer to the age of2 ½ or 3 (or 4...), when we phase out the Binkster altogether. I really do think that, after that age, there's no reason the Bink should be kept around any longer.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

Aloha,

Dr. Heather The BabyShrink

'Truth' or Consequences, Preschool Style: How To Deal With A Child That's Telling Lies

Dear Dr. Heather,

I have a 3-year-old son who has been fibbing about his behavior at daycare. What can I do to make him understand that this is wrong? When we find out that he has told us a lie, we sit down and discuss the behavior, and give him a consequence of not being able to do something he likes, even if it's a day later.  Am I going about this all wrong?

Thanks,

Melissa from Texas

Hi Melissa,

I know it's rough with this age, but at 3, 4, or even 5, your little guy still doesn't REALLY know the difference between "truth" and "a lie". He's just not cognitively capable of understanding it. He's not 100% sure about the difference between dreams, TV shows, his own imagination, and "reality". That's why imaginary friends and the Easter Bunny get such good play with the preschool crowd.  So asking him about "the truth" is kind of like speaking a foreign language.

I asked my just-turned-five-year-old if the Backyardigans are real. He said "yes". (DUH, Mommy!)

"But are they made up? Like a story?"

"Yeah, a cartoon."

"So are they a lie?"

"Ummm.... I don't know!"  he said.

Your son may PRETEND he understands, because he sees it's important to you, but don't be fooled. Kids this age have yet to come to the stage of Concrete Operations, when they will start to understand the difference between the "real" truth, and what is false or imaginary.

So, make your decisions based on what YOU know to be the truth of his behavior, not what he "admits" to. If he protests that "it's not true", you can say, "Well, I know you WISH it wasn't true, but it was, so here's the consequence." Or one I used tonight, when my daughter said she already washed her hands, but I knew she hadn't: "I know you WANT to be done washing your hands, but I didn't see the scrubbing. Let's try it again, please." Don't make him feel like a "liar" or a criminal for telling stories, but let him know that YOU as his parent DO know the truth -- and will work on helping him understand what that means.

The most important issue here is to help your son think through those tough situations at school, to help him make better decisions next time. Ask him about what happened, in a curious way, without getting upset. "You got mad at the other kid and ripped his paper? How come? What happened next? Maybe next time, try and ask him to stop touching your paper, so you won't feel like you have to rip his picture."

Punishing him the day after the infraction is not likely to work, and more likely to cause a power struggle to erupt. He won't connect the punishment with the action that long after the fact. You're better off letting his teacher give the immediate consequence, if it's necessary, and then talking it over later with him.

Aloha,

Dr. Heather The BabyShrink

Toddler Behavior: My Kids Whine All Day

Dear BabyShrink, My husband and I have two really great little girls, ages four and 22 months. They are both really well behaved, good kids, but we have been having a lot of problems with our youngest whining constantly.

I expect a toddler her age to have plenty of temper tantrums and be willful. But the constant whining all day long is really getting to me. No matter what she is doing, she wants something different and is whining constantly. For instance, she whines for a certain toy she can't reach. When she gets it, she drops it and decides she wants something else. She gets that and she whines that she wants something her sister has. She whines when she wants her snack. I set her at the table and she whines because she wants down the whole time she is eating.

I have tried to treat it like a temper tantrum and not give in if it is something she really doesn't need. But she soon forgets whatever it is she is whining for and moves on to whine for the next thing she decides she wants. It is making my husband and me CRAZY! Is this just a stage that we need to ride out, or do we need to make some changes in how we deal with this? I try to get her to use words to tell me what she wants, but she is very stubborn and refuses even though I know she can say these words. She can talk very well when she wants to. Please help!! We will really appreciate any suggestions you might have, or suggestions for books that address this issue.

Thank you,

Jaime

Hi Jaime,

Ugh! I am so with you. Our youngest is 26 months old, and just getting to the end of that horrible "constant whining" stage. Whining is specially created by the baby gods to cut through the hustle and bustle of the household to get your immediate attention. It works, right?! Toddlers' whining is super irritating, party because at this age, we KNOW they CAN "use their words" when they feel like it. Why must they insist on whining, when all they have to do is USE THEIR WORDS?! Just like they did so nicely yesterday (for like 14 blissful seconds, but who's counting?).

Well, toddlers this age are really on the brink of a developmental shift. I HIGHLY recommend the DVD series, "The Baby Human". It's terrific at showing so much of what we're talking about here. (Please do yourselves a favor, everyone, and watch that series.) One of the episodes focuses on the time around 18-24 months, when a huge change starts to occur. Before that, they're really just walking babies. We don't expect much more from them. But after this change, they're more like "miniature preschoolers", capable of expressing themselves much more directly. Yeah, they're still toddlers, but an important shift has occurred. They can hold themselves together longer. They can communicate much better. They understand more of what you're telling them. They can wait for things (for a few seconds, anyway).

Have you read T. Berry Brazelton, MD, about how any new developmental shift is first accompanied by some serious regression? Your little girl wants to do all these new, "mini preschooler" things, but is overwhelmed a lot of the time with her inability to make the world work in all the new ways she's trying out. So she's frustrated and feels like freaking out. It's like when we, as adults, are learning a new skill (say on the computer, and writing a new blog!). Until you really understand your new skill, you feel like banging your head on this damn keyboard, and screaming at the screen!

The Best Thing About Whining But I digress. Whining, believe it or not, is a way your toddler has developed to avoid melting down into a total tantrum. This is good, right? What would you rather have: whining -- or a kicking, screaming tantrum? It's also a way your toddler is working on to establish some more power around this place. How can I be in control here? How come everyone decides everything for me?  "I do it! I do it!" These are early signs of the negotiating skills that are used so well by 5, 6 and 7-year-olds. And even though it's irritating as hell, it's also a sign that your baby is growing into a thinking, negotiating little person, striving towards independence and self-assertion. I've said it before, but I'll say it again: you really don't want a passive little toddler who never complains. I worry about those kids. Blustering, loud, irritating attempts at independence are the hallmark behaviors of this stage, and need to be struggled with in order to help your toddler feel a sense of competence and success in the world.

How To Cope But how do you cope with it? First of all, understand that it is a normal phase. Constant whining at this age is really common. If your toddler is whining constantly at a later age; something else is going on. Perhaps there's a speech delay, or you could be unintentionally reinforcing the behavior. Whining also increases a lot when kids are sick. So always check to see if that might be true.

Tell your toddler: "I hear whining. I don't like whining. Tell me in your words. You want juice? Here's your juice. No juice? OK, tell me, 'Mommy, no more juice'. Thank you for using your words. Now you want milk? OK, but no more changes. Milk, or juice. You choose. OK, no milk and no juice?" If whining starts, try again. "No more whining. Milk or juice. You pick." Often, this little exchange will help, at least a little. Your toddler wants to feel that you take her needs seriously, even if she changes her mind a million times.

Lather, rinse and repeat until you start to get irritated. Because there will be a limit to how much any living, breathing parent can do this. And she's checking to see exactly how much you can take it...today.  Testing is part of the whole routine. Exactly how much control do I have in this situation? When does Mommy take over and cut me off? How far can I push it? Now, notice I didn't say, "Continue to negotiate until you're about to lose your mind and give her the juice box, milk, water, AND the Diet Coke you were just drinking, plus open up the bottle of wine that YOU need now". Instead, set the limit before you're at your wit's end. "OK, no more drinks, all done with drinks. Let's go do something else."

Try to Ignore? If you're really strong, you can try ignoring the whining. Say you're about to do it. "No more whining.  I don't like it when you whine. Mommy is busy. I don't hear whining." And then go about your business with the whining toddler behind you, trying to get your attention. Breathe deeply, don't make eye contact, and repeat yourself. "I don't listen to whining." This may take several minutes, which seem like several hours, in toddler-time. Some will get the message, others will not.

Take a Time-Out You can also give time-outs for excessive whining. The amount of time necessary for each toddler will vary, but usually a short one (a minute or less) is sufficient to make your point. We have a little place in our kitchen for exactly such purposes; it's just a small corner of space between a wall and an armoire, about three square feet of space, which provides a sense of containment for our little guy. After going through the above routine, I will threaten one. "No more whining. More whining, and you go in time-out." When he was at his peak of whining, I would follow though on this once or twice a day. He felt the pain of the consequence, and  especially the pain of having to give up some power, and often (but not always) return in a better frame of mind.

A key part of all this is to make sure you give huge props for quitting the whining.  "Wow! You used your words! You are playing nicely now! Oh, that feels so much better!  Good job, honey! Gimme five for talking nicely! I love it when we play and talk nicely together like this!"

Also, make sure you can blow off some steam about the whining. Call a friend who understands and complain about your whiner. Exchange "horrible toddler whining" stories. Laugh about it, and get away regularly so you can re-gain your sense of perspective about all of this. Take turns with your partner when the whining is really getting on your nerves, even if you have to "trade off toddler duty" for just a 10 minute break. Ten minutes taking a quick walk around the block, or plowing through People magazine, in the quiet of your own bathroom, can be wonderfully restorative. (I know I'm not the only one who retreats to the bathroom for some peace and quiet! Where else can you go, sometimes?!)

Hope that helps. Let us know how it works out!

Aloha,

Dr. Heather The BabyShrink

Parenting Tips: How To Handle a Sassy-Talking Preschooler

Dear Dr. Heather, I have a 3-year-old son and he is for the most part a good boy. However, he comes home from daycare upset because a friend at school tells him he isn't his friend anymore, or that he doesn't like him. My son takes it very personally and is starting to use phrases like "I'm not your friend" and "I don't like you" to my husband and me. How do we handle this? I tried talking to his teacher at school and she treats it like they are just typical toddlers. I just don't want this behavior to continue or get worse. We try time out, taking toys and TV away, but nothing seems to help.

Stacey Orlando

Hi Stacey, I know it's really hard when your precious little guy starts talking like that.  But don't take it personally.  He's just trying out the strength and power those new words have.  He sees how much impact they have at school, and wants to "try them on for size" at home.

Talk to him about the meaning you hear underneath the words....not the words themselves.  When he cries about his friends saying those things, say, yes, it's hard when friends say mean things.  I think your feelings are hurt.  We don't like to say mean things in our family.  But try not to dwell on it...the friendships of preschoolers are notoriously changeable.

If he says those things to YOU, try not to overreact, but use it as a lesson.  I think you heard your friend talking like that today, but I know you can talk more nicely.  If you're mad, say 'Mommy, I'm mad' instead.  Can we try that again? It's important that you don't get emotional about it. Remember that he's testing out some new phrases. Staying low-key about it -- but setting the limit about what's allowed (and what's not allowed) -- will help him to learn how to use his words most effectively (and politely).

Otherwise, you run the risk of putting too much emphasis on those powerful words, and he'll be tempted to get into a power struggle with you about it.

Let me know how that works!

Aloha,

Dr. Heather

The BabyShrink

Toddler Behavior: How To Deal With Biting Babies

Dear BabyShrink, My 16-month-old son just got kicked out of daycare for biting, a habit he picked up there! I’ve heard many different ways to stop the biting habit. Do you have any suggestions on what you’ve found that works best?

Amy in Louisville

Hi, Amy,

I'm so sorry that your son's daycare hasn't found a better way of addressing this COMMON toddler behavior -- one that needn't be made into such a big deal.

Now, yes, I know that it is very upsetting to be on the receiving end of a bite, and even more so to be the parent of the "bite-ee", but we have to look at this as normal toddler exploratory behavior. Babies at this age still get a lot of their information about the world through their mouths. Plus, they’re often teething, and they’re not the greatest at explaining their wants and needs. So a bite now and then is really understandable. Some toddlers even bite to convey their love and affection for someone! Modifying the environment usually does the trick in minimizing biting.

First, give care and attention to the "bite-ee" IF he/she is upset, and certainly if the skin is broken. But if the child isn't upset, don't make a big deal out of it (you don't want to unnecessarily reinforce the biting). DO show the biter what to do instead. "We don't bite people, but you CAN bite this special toy! This is YOURS to bite!"  (Click HERE to see a photo of the kind of chewie things that Early Intervention specialists use for toddlers; we have one at home.  It's a little different than what you get at the regular baby store. They're nearly indestructible, and they're fun to chew.)

Analyze what came before the bite. Was the child tired? Overstimulated? Teething? Take care of THOSE issues first, and you should see a reduction in biting.

At home, be unemotional about biting, but firm. "No biting. If you want to bite, bite this instead." If he bites you, say, without reacting TOO strongly, "Ouch. That hurt. No biting.  Here's your bite toy." And then move on. If you have to be a broken record, do so -- you might have to for awhile. But he will eventually stop.

Maybe moving to a new daycare is not for the worst thing in the long run. Toddlers need and deserve daycare settings that know how to handle this, and other annoying (but normal!!) toddler behaviors, without making the kids look like little monsters. Try to find a new daycare that has established approaches that work with biting; you don't want a place that is scared off by a little chomping.

Aloha,

Dr. Heather The BabyShrink