No biting!

In the world of childcare, there are many challenges we face as children progress happily through their different phases in development. The most challenging of these is the biting phase! Biting is something that cannot be tolerated and causes harm to others – which is why parents and caregivers need to draw the line. It’s a common problem for our little ones due to teething and a general expression of frustration, anger or excitement when they are not yet able to communicate. But it’s a problem that we do not tolerate at Kids College and should not be tolerated in any childcare environment – in a center, in your home or otherwise.

"No Biting!" — Prevention is Key

What should you do when you discover your child has become chomp happy? First, the most important thing is to be consistent with your form of discipline. Make sure you communicate things you have observed at home with your caregiver so that they can be more alert and pay closer attention to any pre-biting behavior. Each parent disciplines as they see fit, but whatever your form of discipline, it is important to also include an example of what behavior IS expected from your child. For instance, it doesn’t help to just tell your child: “NO BITING!”

With such a short period of time on earth, they have no frame of reference, so it is important to imitate what behavior you do expect from them. For instance, you could say: “NO BITING! IT HURTS.” Giving them a reason WHY their behavior is unacceptable. “WE USE GENTLE TOUCHES LIKE THIS…” and stroke your child’s hand or arm. I also like to add: ” BE EEEASY…” That way, pretty soon, when you see pre-biting behavior in your child, you will eventually reach the point where you can say: “Griffin, BE EASY…” as a warning to your child and they will know this means no biting or unacceptable behavior! Again, consistency is king. It will not work the first three times you do it, but it will work!

What you can expect from your childcare provider

Once the biter is identified, we work with the parents to help stop the biting. It can be very difficult for you as a parent to be told that your child might have a biting issue. However, your child care provider should never make you feel that this is as a result of being a bad parent. Although it can be a hard pill to swallow, try to commend your service provider for identifying the behavior early.  They should have a biting policy in place and an action plan to help your child through this phase.

At Kids College, a teacher will shadow the biter throughout the day and intervene when necessary.  You should expect an incident report that highlights the circumstances surrounding the bite and discuss what happened with the teacher or provider. The incident reports are critical in determining the cause of the biting. Often times, if caught early enough before it becomes a bad habit, we can establish what causes the child to bite through these incident reports and consequently change the behavior: Does it happen at the same time every day (when the child gets tired or hungry)? Do they bite when someone is violating their personal space etc.?

It is important to keep in mind that it takes a split second for a bite to happen and that it cannot be prevented at all times – especially not in a room full of 1-year-olds! When a child bites another child, we catch about 95% of cases. The remaining 5% slip through because the teachers have their heads turned at the moment of the bite or the little one doesn’t cry. It’s important that if a parent notices a bite mark, to immediately report it to the teacher before you leave the premises. The longer you wait to report a bite, the more difficult it will be for us to find the biter or prevent your child from being bitten.

What not to do

Never ignore biting and hope that it goes away. At Kids College, we want our little ones to feel safe while they are in our home. We take every biting incident seriously and in some cases, we will expel persistent bitera — which has never been necessary where parent co-operation was present. In most cases, biters cease to bite when they can use words to express frustration and anger. Until then, let’s work together to create a safe, special place for our kids!