Biting is, unfortunately, not unexpected behavior for toddlers. Some children and many toddlers communicate through this behavior. However, biting can be harmful to other children and to staff. This biting policy has been developed with both of these ideas in mind. As we work with this age group we understand biting is a part of a community setting. Our goal is to help identify what is causing the biting and resolve these issues. If the issue cannot be resolved, this policy serves to protect the children that are bitten. If a biting incident occurs, the parent of the child biting and the parent of the child who was bitten will be contacted. Names of the children are not shared with either parent.
When the biting does occur:
Our staff strongly disapproves of biting. The staff’s job is to keep the children safe and help a child that bites learn different, more appropriate behavior. We do not use techniques to alarm, hurt, or frighten children.
For the child that was bitten:
- Staff will separate the child who was bitten from the biter.
Comfort will be given to the child who was bitten.
- Staff will administer appropriate first aid as follows:
Assess the wound and if it is bleeding, apply pressure directly to the wound, using a clean, dry cloth, until the bleeding stops. Escort the child to see the School Nurse for assessment and treatment.
- Classroom staff will confer with the director to review the context of the biting incident and strategize a plan moving forward.
For the child that bit:
- The biter is immediately removed with no emotional response from the adult towards the biter, using words such as “you may use your words – biting hurts”. We will avoid any immediate response that reinforces the biting or calls attention to the biter. Caring attention will be given to the child who was bitten (a cold pack, tissues).
- The biter will be removed from the immediate situation. “I see that you want that truck, but I can’t let you hurt him. We don’t put our teeth on people – we use our words.”
- The child will be redirected to other work/play.
When biting continues:
- Classroom staff will meet with the director on a routine basis for advice, support and strategy planning.
- Staff will work together as partners with the parents of both biting children and frequent targets to keep all informed and develop a joint strategy for change.
- Staff will chart every occurrence, and indicate location, time, participants, behaviors, staff present, and circumstances in order to ascertain the triggers to the biting behavior.
- Staff will closely observe and supervise children who indicate a tendency to bite, to:
- Head off biting situations before they occur,
- Demonstrate non-biting responses to situations and reinforce appropriate behaviors
- Demonstrate responses to potential biting situations: “Stop” or “that hurts!”
- Staff will hold a conference with parents of the biting child to develop a plan of action that may include:
- Support of outside professional that would include observation of child in the community
- Child being sent home for the day if the situation warrants
- Prepare the parents of the biting child for the possibility that the child may have to be removed from the School and help them to make contingency plans.
- If it is deemed in the best interest of the child, the school, and other children, withdrawal from the School.