Biters are going to happen in daycare. The key is to find out why kids bite, and then come up with a solution. Last week we talked about why kids bite, and today we are going to talk about solutions for biting.
Here are the steps to handling the situation when a child bites:
- As soon as you see a child has bitten, separate them immediately from the victim.
- Stress to the child that they should NOT bite. You can do this by saying “No, biting hurts” or something similar.
- Put the biter in a separate area where they can cool off, and do NOT pay attention to them while they are in time out.
- If the child tries to get up redirect, them back to their spot.
- Pay attention to the victim, NOT the child who bit. This will help with children who bite for attention, and those who bite out of curiosity. You will not be rewarding the biter with attention that may reinforce bad behavior.
- Once the child is out of time out, ask them to apologize to the victim.
- Discuss with the biter why he bit. If it was a communication issue give them an example of the proper way to communicate. Ask them to “use their words” instead of hurting another child to get what they want.
Other tips to minimize biting issues
- Keep a biter who may be teething well fed, and happy with an item he or she can “gum” on.
- Toddlers are less likely to bite when they are well rested.
- Do not refer to a child as a “biter” in front of the child, or in front of someone else who may label the child in the future. Labels are not good for anyone, and when one is attached to a child they could try and “live” up to that label labels can follow a child, and children typically outgrow biting. Remember, biting does not mean the child is “bad” it is typical for young children to bite.
- Praise a child who has struggled with biting when they do not bite.
- Make sure no one laughs when a child is bitten, and always remind children that biting hurts.
- Make it a point that “No biting” is a rule in the classroom.
- Do NOT bite the child back, this just models bad behavior.
If a child is still biting after these steps have been followed consistently for 4-6 weeks you may recommend a call to the pediatrician. The child may need additional help, and a discussion may be in order. This is also true if the children hurts themselves, or has other behavior issues. Finding solutions for biting can be difficult but is important for the overall safety of other children, and for the health of the biting child.