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:

  1. 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.
  2. Nev­er indi­cate – by words, body, lan­guage, or oth­er actions – that you think the bit­ing is fun­ny or a game.
  3. Calm­ly remove the child who bit. Emo­tion­al respons­es rein­force bit­ing behavior.
  4. Nev­er bite a child back (or have anoth­er child do so) either as a pun­ish­ment or to show how it feels.
  5. State sim­ply, firm­ly, and calm­ly, “No! Bit­ing hurts,” and avoid lectures.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Help chil­dren learn expres­sive com­mu­ni­ca­tions skills. Mod­el appro­pri­ate ways to inter­act with oth­ers, nego­ti­ate dis­agree­ments, and resolve conflict.
  9. Use spe­cif­ic pos­i­tive lan­guage to teach chil­dren what they should do: “Touch gen­tly. It hurts when you bite.” Rather than “Don’t bite.”
  10. 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.

For more ways to sup­port chil­dren, check out our blogs “How to Help Chil­dren Suc­ceed” and “Reduc­ing Children’s Stress in Child Care.”

Care Courses Support

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: We’re here to help!

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