Biting is not unexpected when toddlers are in group care. We are always upset when children are bitten while in our care, and we recognize how upsetting it is for parents. While we feel that biting is never the right thing for toddlers to do, we know that they bite for a variety of reasons. Most of those reasons are not related to behavior problems. We do not focus on punishment or expulsion from the program for biting. We do focus on effective techniques that address the specific reason for the biting. When biting occurs we have four main responses:
1. Care for and help the child who was bitten.
2. Help the child who bit learn other behaviors.
3. Work with the child who bit and examine our program to stop the biting.
4. Communicate individually with the parents of the child who bit and the child who was bitten.
Our teachers express strong disapproval of biting. They work to keep children safe and to help the child who bit learn different, more appropriate behavior. When there are episodes of ongoing biting, we develop a plan of specific strategies, techniques, and timelines to address it. We do not and will not use any response that harms a child or is known to be ineffetive.
We give immediate attention and, if nescessary, first aid to children who are bitten. If a child is bitten and the skin is broken, we recommend that he or she be seen by a health care provider.
When children bite, their parents are informed personally and privately the same day. When children are bitten, their parents are informed personally that day and given a copy of the incident report. Biting is always documented by the teacher on our standard incident report form.
When we experience ongoing biting in a toddler room, we may develop a written plan with specific strategies, techniques, and timelines to work on the problem. This written plan is shared with all parents in the room, if applicable.
We keep the name of the child who bit confidential. This is to avoid labeling and to give the teacher the opportunity to use her time and energy to work on stopping the biting.
Staff members attend training sessions on biting. In addition, we have current resources on biting available for staff and parents. We encourage parents to bring their concerns and frustrations directly to the teachers.