Biting Policy

Our program recognizes that biting is, unfortunately, not unexpected when children under the age of 3 are in group care. We are always upset when children are bitten in our program, and recognize how upsetting it is for parents as well. We do know that children bite for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the biting is related to teething and sometimes they bite to express feelings they can’t yet express with words. We have seen children bite when they are frustrated, and we have seen children bite in the excitement of a happy moment. We cannot predict which children will bite, but we are ready to help children who do bite learn other behavior. We are also ready to give treatment, sympathy, and advice to children who are bitten.

Here are ways we work to prevent biting and how we respond to it when it does happen:

First, we try to arrange the day to avoid boredom, frustration, or overstimulation. We provide activities and toys that have a mix of stimulation, are soothing, and age-appropriate. We also try to provide duplicates of favorite toys. The teachers also work with children to model acceptable and appropriate behaviors for the children, helping them learn words to express their feelings and giving those tools to resolve conflicts with our help.

Second, if a child is bitten, we help the child with the bite first. We comfort the child and care for the bite. If the skin is not broken, we wash the area with soap and water, and then apply an ice pack. If the skin is broken, we wash the area with soap and water. We will then apply a bandage in order to keep the area clean. If your child is bitten, we will call you to let you know about the bite. The teachers will also fill out an incident report, have it signed by the administration, keep a copy, and give one to you when you pick up your child. The incident report will inform you of where the bite was located, the first aid that was applied, and the circumstances that led up to the biting incident. The child who did the biting will not be identified on the report due to regulations regarding confidentiality. We also respond to the child who did the biting. We show the child strong disapproval of biting. Our specific response varies by circumstances, but our basic message is that biting is the wrong thing to do. We also help the child who bit learn different, more appropriate behavior, and we let his or her parents know there’s a problem so we can work together to solve it.

Third, the teachers and administration analyze the cause of ongoing biting. We develop a plan to address the causes of the biting, focusing on keeping children safe and helping those who are in a biting pattern. When we need to develop such a plan, we share the details with parents so they know specifically how we are addressing this problem.

Fourth, parents are notified if their child starts to bite. We ask parents to keep us informed if their child is biting at home. Children who bite in our program do not necessarily bite at home. However, if your child is biting in both places, it is important for all of us to be consistent in dealing with it. Communication is very important in order to help your child stop biting.