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Biting - How Do You Deal With It?


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Hi all,

The week before last my toddler was bitten 3 times by the same child over the course of the week and apparently did nothing to provoke these attacks . I didn't pick him up any of these times as I was still at school however each time my partner was simply told he'd been bitten and asked to sign an accident form. Each time my child had been playing alone and the other child had come up a bitten him. The last time was on the Friday and he had a really bad bite on his chest - the skin was broken in two places and it has developed into a really nasty bruise still visible now (we have been on holiday the last week and got lots of funny looks from strangers). I am sending him to nursery tomorrow while I go to the gym (part of my getting fit in the six week holiday) but I feel really anxious and wondered if I should say something, but I have no idea what. I don't want to come across as pushy however I am really concerned as I don't want this to become a regular thing.

Thanks x

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ermmm, of course you should say something!! This is your child! I would definately want to know what was going on and what was being done about the biter, particularly as the biting is hard enough to break the skin.At my last group, we had a child who was a persistant biter and when we discussed it with his mum, she suggested we put him in a playpen (to embarrasshim and keep him away from the others'!!.....he was three and a half)........instead, i suggested that, if he did it again,we would warn him that if it happened again, we would send him home, without a fuss, but making it very clear that we would not have biting in the group.She agreed to this and when, inevitably, he did do it again, we warned him that it was his last chance and he would go home if it ever happened again.So....................................home he went the very next time, no further warnings, that was it, we explained that we had told him what would happen and that, this was the result of his actions.He went ballistic, was very tearful and angry, but his mum came immediately and took him home, andw while she was there, we told him we wanted to see him again at his next session and hoped he would not bite again.So?? next time he came, he did it again, and i immediately phoned mum and we repeated the whole scenario.............we liked him but not the biting etc.Next time, we saw him about to bite a child, but he caught sight of one of the staff looking at him.......and he stopped! And, he never did it again. I should make it clear that we always gave more attention to the injured child and showed the biter what his actions had done and got him to apologise, but being sent home seemed to be the answer.

At my new group, we had an autistic child who regularly used to bit a particular member of staff.................a sweet, quiet girl who was exceptionally lovely with her............and she was bitten so badly on one occasion, that we actually had to ask for medical advice............and the staff member had to have a precautionary course of antibiotics as human bites are apparantly one of the worst you can get.

Edited by narnia
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As Narnia has said youmust definatly find out what is happening Ariel.Dont feel as if you are a nagging parent as his mum you need to protect him.

What is happening to prevent it?What strategies have they put in place so it doesnt happen again?

What is their policy on biters(behavioural policy)

if it does happen again it clearly isnt working what will they do now?

Although my son is a strapping 6footer and the only bites he gives are on his girrlfriends neck!!!When he was 2and 3yrs he bit always in frustration and always the next door neighbours son who was younger(how we stayed friends I dont know!) :o And it was devasting to know my son had inflicted that on somebody but on the other hand my younger son who is also now a 6 footer was bitten repeatingly by a much bigger child in playgroup and i was mortified and upset and felt the need to protect him.With my expereince of having a biter i was a little more tolerent but please dont hesitate find out what they are doing to protect him! Good luck and make sure you get an answer you are happy with xD

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It makes me so cross when I hear of settings who leave parents feeling they are being a nuisance for wanting to know what is being done to protect their child.

 

Biting is horrible for all concerned - as a practitioner it is thing you dread having to feed back to a parent but when it happens it has to be dealt with.

 

In my own setting following a third incident of hurting another child we would be closely monitoring the child concerned (all staff would be on alert to make sure someone was close by to where they were playing at all times) - to protect both the child(ren) being hurt and the one causing harm (from gaining a bad reputation) - the aim being to be close enough at hand to support positive play and step in to prevent any further incidents before they happened - teaching appropriate behaviour instead.

 

Each time we feedback such an incident the course of action taken would be reported to both sets of parents and agreed to ensure everyone involved is happy.

 

You have the right to expect something to be done to prevent this happening to your child again and the setting should be able to answer your questions about how they intend to handle the situation.

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When we have a biting incident we have a information sheet What to do if a child bites that we go through with both sets of parents exlaining what are strategies are on biting and what support we expect from parents and the support we can offer. We always ensure that the bSenior member of staff talks to the parents concerned ensuring that they are encouraged to voice any concerns or questions they may have. As a parent you have a right to be kept informed of what action the setting is taking to ensure your child is safe and happy at the setting, if this is not addressed very quickly your child will not wish to attend.

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Hi There

Hope all goes well, maybe the nursery thought you would have a good idea how they dealt with this ready, if your working with children? Just an idea, Its a tough situation all round for everyone, hope it stops soon!

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At my new group, we had an autistic child who regularly used to bit a particular member of staff.................a sweet, quiet girl who was exceptionally lovely with her............and she was bitten so badly on one occasion, that we actually had to ask for medical advice............and the staff member had to have a precautionary course of antibiotics as human bites are apparantly one of the worst you can get.

 

just a note here...children with autism often bite, it can be a sign of affection, we have had two do this , they only bit the people they were closest to.

 

Inge

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Ariel - by now you will have resolved your own dilemma, I think. As a parent I would definitely want to know what strategies the setting are using to protect your child and help the other child stop biting. As others have said it is quite in order to ask the question and make sure you get an answer you feel comfortable with.

 

Narnia - I'm very interested with your strategy in sending the persistent biter home. You were lucky to be able to work in solid partnership with the parent - otherwise I can just imagine the "Daily Mail" type headlines now. And the fact that it worked so well is brilliant!

 

Ninafox - What a brilliant idea to have a factsheet explaining how your setting deals with these issues. I can think of a number of factsheets that could be put together for parents explaining how we deal with things in nursery. Another thing for my 'to-do' list...

 

Inge - am very interested in what you say about children with autism. How do you deal with this sensitively if the adult doesn't want to be bitten yet the child has a need to express affection in ways they feel comfortable with?

 

Sorry to put all these points in one post - sometimes its the only way I can organise my thinking!

 

Maz

 

PS I've just had an Amazon delivery and one of the books I ordered was "Teeth are not for biting" with the repeated refrain "But teeth are not for biting. Ouch! Biting hurts". Have bought this with one particular little boy in mind who tends to bite...

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we were just very aware of the children as we became close to them while supporting 1:1 and were able to anticipate the times when likely to bite and 'head them off' or distract with a fave item. usually worked but not always, all staff ended up with a bite of some kind, but skin only broken once.

 

have seen one of the children recently and even now all her teachers and support staff bear the scars or have been bitten at some time by this child, 5 years on!

 

We became very adept at watching body language and interpreting them and gtrying to change the behaviour to a hug, which she also liked to give.

 

Inge

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We became very adept at watching body language and interpreting them and gtrying to change the behaviour to a hug, which she also liked to give.

 

Inge

And often this is the key to preventing biting incidents isn't it: observing to find out when it is more likely to happen and intervening at just the right time to help the child find another solution.

 

Maz

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