In this blog we will focus on 10 ways that you as an early childhood professional can handle biting incidents in your child care setting.
Child care providers often wonder how to cope with children who bite one another. At Care Courses, we understand that biting can be a challenging situation in any child care setting.
Want to learn more? We offer Biting Hurts, a 2‑clock-hour training course that covers the reasons why young children bite, strategies to prevent biting, appropriate ways to intervene in biting incidents, and how to talk to parents about biting.
When a child is bitten:
- Give attention and comfort Give attention and comfort first to the child who has been bitten. Model empathy for the victim and avoid rewarding the child who bit with immediate adult attention. Children ages two and older who bit another child can assist in comforting the victim.
- Never indicate – by words, body, language, or other actions – that you think the biting is funny or a game.
- Calmly remove the child who bit. Emotional responses reinforce biting behavior.
- Never bite a child back (or have another child do so) either as a punishment or to show how it feels.
- State simply, firmly, and calmly, “No! Biting hurts,” and avoid lectures.
- Never emotionally abandon a child who bites by withholding love or comfort. Causing a child to feel rejected or scorned does nothing to teach appropriate behavior. Express disapproval of biting, not the child.
- Never respond to a child who bites with physical or verbal aggression. Model respectful, appropriate language and behavior at all times. Never behave toward children in ways that are not appropriate for them to imitate.
- Help children learn expressive communications skills. Model appropriate ways to interact with others, negotiate disagreements, and resolve conflict.
- Use specific positive language to teach children what they should do: “Touch gently. It hurts when you bite.” Rather than “Don’t bite.”
- Assure a child who bites that you have confidence they will learn appropriate behaviors!
Finally, make sure you notify the parents of both the child who bit and the victim and tell them what you are doing to stay on top of it.
By following these steps you can help alleviate or shorten a biting “crisis.” These tips will help you handle biting incidents when they occur in your child care setting.
Want to learn more? The our Care Course, Biting Hurts.
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Please contact us and let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Monday through Friday, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!