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Biting Positive Help for You and Your Li


Is my child going to get bitten?

The honest and transparent answer is; maybe...but keep in mind, your child may also become the child who bites. 

Information About Toddlers and Biting

Children under the age of 3 years old (toddlers) in social groups, like in a school/childcare setting, are learning how to interact and function in a group setting.

As a toddler program, along with hitting, taking things from each other and pushing, biting is one of the most common behavior we see and deal with in this age group, though biting can be seen in older children. Up to the age of four, it is probably due to a delayed developmental stage. In children older than 4 years old, biting is usually a result of other reasons; child may be on the spectrum, child may have felt frustrated/trapped (it's a one time thing), child may have some communication or speech delays, etc.  

Biting is the hardest developmental behavior to deal with as a program director, a teacher and of course as a parent. 

The Parent of the Child Who Got Bitten 

  • Nothing is more frustrating and disheartening than seeing a bite mark on your child's body. 

  • You understand that it is a developmental stage, but your child is getting hurt and you want it to stop.

  • You may feel like your child is being targeted.

  • You may also doubt that the staff is doing all they can to protect your child. 

Those are all valid feelings to have.

Please remember :

  • NO ONE wants any child to get hurt

  • The staff is working hard and using all their resources and tricks to protect all the children, including yours

  • The parent of the child who is biting not only feels horrible, but they are feeling desperate for the biting to stop

  • The school and staff works closely with the teaching team (in the room) and the families affected

  • As horrible/bad as the biting mark left looks on your child (especially if they are fair skin children), a lot of the time, the children who are bitten, don't even cry or 'feel pain' when the biting takes place. When this happens, unless the teacher witnessed the bite, it may go unnoticed by the teachers in the room. 

  • Keep the communication lines open with the teachers, check in and ask if there's anything you can do to help your child

  • Children may become the 'biter' at any time (including yours)

  • Toddlers don't target other children because they are mean or malicious

  • Children who are bitten often it is usually because they are 'friends' with the child who is biting and they want to play together (making it extra difficult for the staff to keep them apart)

  • The staff cannot give you the identity of the child who is biting nor can they give you specifics about the child but can give you general information about what is being done and how the behavior is being managed

  • Studies show that children who are bitten often in childcare settings (or have a sibling who bites) do not show any long-term effects (most don't remember it happening after a few months)

  • A child who bites does so for different reasons, but it is no way a reflection of the parents' parenting, it is not a reflection on the quality of the program and on the qualifications and abilities of the staff (as long as everyone is working to help the children in the group)

  • Every school, childcare, home daycare, day program who has children under the age of 3 years old (toddlers) in their program will experience this behavior

  • The quality of the program is reflected in their willingness to work with all the parents involved and their transparency an honesty with the families

At TBM, we understand that this developmental behavior can happen at any time, with any child no mater how sweet and friendly the toddler is, it really starts 'out of the blue'. Most of the time, the biting period will last between a few weeks to a few months and as suddenly as it started, one day, it ends. Children 'grow out' of the behavior, move on and probably will never bite again. 

We ALWAYS take biting seriously and escalate the intervention, behavior modification and strategies the same as we would any other behavior issues we face when working with children.  We recognize that most children will stop on their own, however, for the biting period, no matter how short, we dedicate our time and energy to managing the biting.

This includes but is not restricted to:

  • Making observation notes

  • Protecting the other children from getting bit

  • Keeping the child who is biting under close observation

  • Escalating the interventions as the behavior escalates

  • Keeping all parents informed when biting happens

  • Working with the parents (of the child who is biting and the child who got bitten)

  • Implementing some group lessons/strategies 

We invite parents to keep the communication with the staff open and honest. The teachers will do the same thing as we work through a 'biting period'.

Why TBM Doesn't Expel Children Who Bite

Firstly, this is truly a developmental behavior in toddlers, therefore, we treat and intervene the same way as we do with any other behavior issue we come across in children. 

As part of our commitment to being inclusive and accepting of all children, we understand that sometimes additional resources must be dedicated to a child or a group of children to support them as they are struggling with a behavior (intellectually,  developmentally, physically or emotionally). 

We work with the teaching team, the parents and any additional support staff to ensure that a behavior management/modification plan is in place. 

As long as the parents are being supportive and not hindering the educators and support team, we do not expel children from our program. However, if the parents are not being supportive and are hindering any intervention, this may result in the lost of their spot in our program. (Not as a result of the child's needs or behavior, but as a result of the parents' actions.)

For more information or for a printable version of the documents, click on the buttons below. You will find resources for the parent or teacher of the child who is biting and another for the parent of the child who got bit. 

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Young Woman Making Notes
Gay Couple with their Son
Image by Pavel  Anoshin
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