Our responsibility is to raise happy, healthy and resilient children at Care for Kindies. In this blog, we are going to discuss biting, which is often part of children’s normal development. It is important to be aware of the reasons why a child may bite, and the potential consequences of a child biting another individual. We have techniques, processes and plans in place to minimise biting incidents. These strategies are based on the individual needs of each child.
Why do children bite?
Identifying and understanding the underlying cause of biting is vital for developing an effective response. In most cases, children bite in order to cope with a challenge or fulfil a need. The reason for biting can vary based on the child’s age and ability. The reasons include:
- Infants – experimental, sensory pleasure, teething
- Toddlers – frustration, fatigue, attention seeking, confined spaces.
- Older children – aggression, deliberate.
How can biting be prevented?
Although biting can be a common behaviour among toddlers, the good news is that there is a lot that can be done to reduce and, ultimately, eliminate biting. If a child appears to be on the verge of biting… we suggest and employ the following strategies:
1. Distract the child with a toy or book to reduce the tension and shift the child’s attention.
2. Suggest how the child might handle the situation that is triggering the need to bite. For example: “Sophie, you can tell Anna: “You are a little too close. I don’t like it when you sit on me.” If you think your child might be biting due to a need for oral stimulation, offer your child something he can safely bite and chew such as a teether.
3. Suggest ways to share. Sharing is one of the most common triggers for biting and teaching children the importance of sharing is vital. At Care for Kindies we reinforce our important sharing values to the children so that they understand the importance of looking after their classmates.
4. Reading books about biting can also help. There are lots of great books available which discuss the concept of biting. Asking children how the characters felt can be a great way to check their comprehension of the concepts too.
What happens is biting does occur?
We have a biting policy in place in case an incident does occur. It is important for parents to understand our policy too.
If a bite does occur, supervising adults should check for broken skin and clean all bites with cold running water and soap, regardless of whether the skin is broken or not.
If the incident occurred at Care for Kindies, our staff will contact the families of the children who has bitten and the child that has been bitten as soon as possible. Families are then responsible for any follow up medical treatment.
Staff and parents should take necessary steps to develop a behaviour guidance plan for the child who is biting. It is important to monitor the behaviour of the child who has bitten and use distraction techniques to prevent the child reaching the point where the child feels the need to bite.
We encourage families to discuss this policy with us upon enrolment, so they are aware of the strategies we implement should a child bite another child.
If you have any questions about our policy, please speak to our Educators who will be more than happy to discuss further.