Biting is very common among young children. Despite this, it can be one of the most difficult issues to deal with. Although biting is very common at nurseries we have a very proud history of being able to foresee and stop it from taking place or work with parents who we feel needs that additional support.
It is often painful and frightening for the child who is bitten, and frightening for the child who bites, because of the upset and anger it can cause and the feeling of loss of control. Other children may also be upset or disturbed, or start to imitate. It is also upsetting for the setting as although we will deploy staff, it is not always possible to foresee or predict when a bite will take place, although we at Angels always maintain a high staff children ratio, we must strike a balance between allowing children to play and supervising to a level that it becomes one to one childcare. We ask that you trust in us, we will do our very best to ensure your child is not bitten or that your child bites, we ask that you understand that this process is of no fault to the children, the parents or the staff, but unfortunately biting is a natural stage of development.
It is difficult for parents and carers as well. If your child has been bitten you will be outraged and angry, if your child is doing the biting you may be embarrassed and frustrated. However please work with us to tackle the issue, our staff are vigilant and provide the upmost care, if an incident occurs please trust that our staff are fully trained in the area, our staff have had training in both biting and positive behaviour and that our first and most important priority will be to comfort the child who has been bitten and also ensure other children do not mimic. We also ask parents to understand that there is nothing pathologically wrong about biting and/or socially aggressive in these early years. Most children outgrow this behaviour.
So how can you help?
Firstly it is important to understand that no member of staff or a parent will encourage a child to bite. Biting is a natural developmental stage that many children go through, It is usually a temporary condition that is most common between thirteen and twenty-four months of age. Toddlers have limited verbal skills and are impulsive without a lot of self-control. Sometimes biting occurs for no apparent reason. At Angels we will encourage the children to "use their words" if they become angry or frustrated. The staff members will maintain a close and constant supervision of the children at all times. The safety of the children at Angels is our primary concern.
Why do children bite?
Toddlers bite other toddlers for many different reasons. A child might be teething or overly tired and frustrated. They might be experimenting or trying to get the attention of the teacher or his peers. Toddlers have poor verbal skills and are impulsive without a lot of self-control. Sometimes biting occurs for no apparent reason.
We have listed a few reasons below:
Teething - swelling gums can be painful and cause discomfort; this can be relieved by biting or chewing on something.
Exploration - babies and young children explore the world around them using their senses, young children do not always know the difference between gnawing on a toy and biting someone.
Attention - when children are in situations where they feel they are not receiving enough attention biting is a quick way of becoming the centre of attention.
Frustration - children can be frustrated by a number of things, such as; wanting to be independent and do things for themselves and not having the vocabulary to express themselves clearly. This can lead to biting as a way of dealing with this frustration
Is there anything we as parents can do?
Yes, the first and most useful action a parent can take is if you suspect your child is biting at home or has started biting please inform us straight away. Research indicates that a child will usually trial a bite at home perhaps with sibling or even parents, it might not be a deep bite but it has been argued that if the child trials it at home there is a string chance the child will continue this at Nursery, So what should you do:
1.Inform a senior member of staff that someone has been bitten at home, that way we can encourage them not to do it and also we can remain vigilant with regards to your child biting another.
2. If your child bites at home please interrupt the bite with a firm "No" and shaking your head and hands showing the child in different ways that we do not bite "No we don't bite, biting hurts" and remove them immediately from the situation For the child who has been bitten, follow normal first aid procedures if necessary.
What happens at Angels in a bite situation?
The biting will be interrupted with a firm "No…we do not bite." Staff will stay calm and will not overreact. The bitten child will be comforted. Staff will remove the biter from the situation. The biter will be redirected into another environment. The wound of the bitten child shall be assessed and cold compress applied if needed. Usually the bite mark will be visible and the child will often show by pointing to the area affected. The parents of both children will be notified of the biting incident either by way of a call or at the end of the day. Please understand that if your child has been bit we will be dealing with the situation at hand, although it might seem easy to deal with a number of factors need to dealt with once this has been dealt (this could take a few hours) and if the situation allows a call will be made. Restoring order in the rooms so children are not upset and more importantly to ensure children do not mimic. Appropriate forms will be filled out (Incident /Accident Report and, depending on the situation, a Behaviour Management Report). Confidentiality of all children involved will be maintained, unfortunately we will not be able to provide you with names of the biter or vice versa. Although there is is CCTV this is soley for the purpose of the nursery and law enforcement agencies in line with our CCTV Policy.
If you are worried or concerned that your child is starting to bite do not hesitate to speak to one of our senior members of staff who have been trained in this area.