***INFO ON BITING***
For parents struggling with a child who is biting, it is important to understand that having a child who bites is not a reflection of poor parenting. It does not imply that your child is witnessing violence at home. It does not mean your child will continue aggressive behavior as an older child. It does not mean you are doing anything wrong.
Frustrating? Yes. Embarrassing? Maybe. Abnormal? No.
Biting is simply a phase of development that will pass.
In larger group settings, like childcare, biting happens frequently. Studies estimate as many as half of children in childcare will be bitten, with toddlers being most common. Bites usually occur to the arms or face and rarely require medical attention, as they most often do not break the skin barrier. My childcare has a well-established plan for when biting occurs. And by the time a child is 3 years old, the frequency of biting dramatically declines.
Why do toddlers bite?
For most kids, biting is a communication tool - not intentional aggression. A bite could mean, "I want that," "I'm angry," or "I'm excited to see you.” Toddlers who bite are often looking for a reaction in their favor, or simply need an outlet for frustration. It's sometimes how they are trying to communicate and having it addressed in a timely manner and with the protocol that we have in place has proven to be the best way to get the situation under control. I have been doing childcare for the past 17 years and have taken many college courses to understanding situations like these and how to handle them.
The protocol that I take when a child bites is as follows:
1. Both parents will get a text or written incident report about the incident.
2. The child that was bit will be treated appropriately and the area cleaned along with excessive hugs and kisses to make them feel better.
3. The child that bit will be removed from the area and sat out and talked with. We will make sure that the one that bit understands that it hurt their friend and will be made to apologize. If I feel that it is a continuous problem I will just keep that child separated from the ones that he or she is biting unless I am in direct supervision. This is only used if it becomes a problem. Usually we can get it under control by the steps we take.