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Children Biting


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Wonder if anyone has had similiar experience and can tell me how it was dealt with please? We have a pre school child who yesterday bit one of the members of staff on the arm resulting in a nasty mark and a trip to the hospital. This has not been an isolated incident as he in the past has hit out, kicked and called names to different members of staff. Parents are involved and an incident book is set up. Any suggestions as to where to go and what do you think should be the next steps for this child?

Thanks

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Hi gemini69

 

We have a few children at the moment who will, on occassion, bite. No staff member has been biten but other children have, some bites looking very serious with two rows of teeth marks. We also have a few children who have stopped biting, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

 

We record bite in accident book and inform child's carer. We never tell them which child bit their child and explain that biting can be a stage young children go thorugh and we explain how we are dealing with it. Parents have been fine with this. It can also be hard on the parent whose child is biting, as we inform parent and discuss strategies we want to put in place with them, if child is a frequent biter. Strategies to work on together.

 

Basically we try to identify why the child is biting (is child frustrated, angry, can not express self in words so resorts to biting, is child feeling crowded, over-stimulated, wants attention) and also when and how many instances are occuring. Staff discuss what seems to precede biting episodes.

 

We provide close supervision for children where biting is likely to occur. We may change situation (eg. provide more of same type of resource, so don't have to share), this can vary from child to child depending on what we have observed and discussed.

 

When a child does bite we immediately remove the child from others (being careful not to give negative attention at this stage). Give lots of attention to the hurt child, so child who bites can see this and see that bitten child is upset. Another member of staff would hopefully be available to support the process. Bitten child is briefly told that biting hurts others and biting is not allowed. If we feel it is appropriate (child's developmental level and understanding) we will ask child to say sorry.

 

We always make a big effort of praising the child who is prone to biting behaviour when we see her/him playing well with others. So child gets positive attention and realises the value in playing with other children. Also builds child's self-esteem.

 

This all takes time and can be challenging for staff but the consistent approach by all staff members will be worth the effort for all involved.

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How old is child? As biting behaviour is common in toddlers and some pre-school children. Maybe you could get advice from other professionals (maybe SEN workers/area SENCOs in your area)

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Poor You - its a difficult situation to deal with.

We had a child who was very physically aggressive, and although he didnt bite, he would throw objects at staff (like chairs, for instance). In this case, the child didnt seem to do it in temper, he just seemed to enjoy the attention, and would laugh/swear as he was doing it.

 

Thankfully no child ever got hurt - just staff! :o , but what we did was give the child extra jobs, i.e. he was responsible for wiping the tables down, emptying the water tray, drying the snack cups etc. and this seemed to work - becasue stickers definately didnt!. When he went into P1 the same thing began to happen and the teacher used the same approach - he was responsible for holding the doors open all the time. Strangely the other children didnt seem to mind that this child got to do these things - we made sure they had other jobs which they shared.

 

In this case, parent was very helpful and worked very closely with us. Like Leedwa, we record the event to help build up a picture of this type of behaviour so that we can work out why it happens and how frequently. We then arrange to talk to the parent at different intervals, i.e. at the end of every week, or every two weeks to share this information, so that it doesnt turn into a situation where we are saying every day - "X did this today" and instead we are collecting information to give parents a more precise picture.

Hope this helps

G

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  • 6 months later...

Hi

Have just searched for a topic on 'biting' and was relieved to find one which I have read and inwardly digested.

 

We have a child who has been with us for 6 months now, who has just started biting. The first occasion was a month ago, this is only the second occasion but we feel there is a strong chance of it occurring again out of frustration, lack of sharing skills and the language to deal with difficult situations. Have talked to parent to work together to solve the problem. We are working on a strategy much in line with previous posts.Other parents mumbling in the playground about child being expelled if it happens again. Child's background not run of the mill. Next question from parents could be what about aids, hepatitus etc. How do we stand on this? Obviously every child matters, and we have an obligation to keep all the children safe whilst supporting the child that's biting. Hope you can help. :o

 

Many thanks

Debbie

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Debbie,

 

Thank you so much for replying Carol, it's much appreciated and I have downloaded the information contained on the website.

 

Does anyone know if parents have to disclose whether their child has the Hepatitis virus or HIV? We have not had this information disclosed but it is a possibility given the parent's background.

 

Many thanks

Debbie

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just like to add to Beau's comment, procedures need to be in place because a parent could only disclose hepatitis etc ( if they wanted to) if they know. What is a diagnosis has not been made?

 

 

Peggy

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Many thanks Carol and Peggy for your help.

 

That is a good point about not knowing if a child is infectious. A timely reminder of the importance of good hygiene procedures.

 

The difficulty comes when trying to stop a child biting! It was interesting reading the Canadian web page which stated that in the study they did most bites happened in September at the beginning of the school year and at mid morning!

 

Just hope our action plan works! :o

 

Debbie

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Just to add there are a couple of books on Amazon that deal with the subject of biting, No Biting by Karen katz ( which also talks about hitting and pushing) , and Teeth are not for biting by Elizabeth Verdick.

 

I can send ISBNs to anyone interested.

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No.......Here is the isbn !!!!

 

Teeth are not for biting

Elizabeth Verdick

ISBN- 1-57542-128-3

 

No biting

Karen Katz

ISBN 0-448-42584-x

 

 

Jo x

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Jo

 

Unfortunately the ISBN numbers didn't appear in your reply. Do you think you could mail them again. Thanks a lot.

 

Debbie

 

Ignore me - they've just appeared like magic!

Edited by Deb
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I have read this subject with interest over the past week as I have never had an issue with biting since starting work in a pre school.

UNTIL TODAY

 

Found 2 bite marks on one of our children. When asked she said she was biten on the mat. Mat time was 15mins before. She didn't cry, tell anyone, moan, nothing. She pointed to the child that had done it and when asked this child said she had. I explained that this was not acceptable etc.

Luckily skin was not broken but was raised.

Explained to the child that was biten that she must let us know. She nodded and went off to play. Thank goodness the parent was understanding and the parent of the child who bit was most apologetic and said she does this all the time.

I felt terrible that we hadn't noticed. But now we nkow we can be more vigilant.

 

Net x

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We have a 'biter' in our setting at the moment We have tried many tactics at trying to curb the biting but so far nothing is working. We have given out literature to the parent of the biter who has read with interest and used some of the tactics at home too. The child doesn't have a particular 'target' but will bite any child in our group but saying that 1 child seems to have unluckier than others and has recieved more. Both children are exactly the same age (just 2) born on the same day so both moved from the baby room to my group at the same time. In the baby room the biter used to occassionally bite the other babies so it was a welcome relief for the babies and their parents when she changed groups. THe other child alwso used to hurt the others by pushing, hair pulling and on 2 occassions also trying to bite them.

 

Now they are in my group the parent of the child who gets bitten is getting increasingly annoyed with the situation. Now if he gets bitten we think 'oh no.. which one of us is going to speak to mum'. :(

 

She says it is not normal, that the child should be expelled, that the child picks on her child only, that the children should be kept seperate and the biter should have 1:1.. etc etc.. just a few examples.

We have also given her literature on biting to help her understand..

The problem we have is that up until now her boy has been 'a little angel in mums eyes' and can not do wrong. We have had to have words with mum though and arrange meeetings to help us deal with him though as he still pushes and hits out at others, overturns activities etc. Now though when she comes to collect she does ask how he has been but if he has been unlucky enough to get a bite then she hits the roof... ignores the fact that her boy on one occassion snatched a toy away from and pushed the biter over before getting bitten.. the biter is in the wrong!!!!!

Ah rant rant rant!! xD :rolleyes: :(:( I could go on and on and on.. I wont even mention what the grandparent of the boy reckons she is going to do to the biters mum if she ever meets her.. :oxD

 

Obviously we never mention names to the parents but unfortunatley our kiddies do now their langauge is coming on.. Each time mum comes to collect him she asks where the 'biter' is by name now hoping that the boy will point her out, which normally means quick reflexes and distraction work on our part.

 

They do really annoy me at times parents.. :wacko:

Sorry but give me the 'biter', the other boy and all the children and we can cope fine.. no problems. Throw in the parents for good measure and all hell breaks loose!.

 

Just as an added extra though.. when playing nicely both these children approach the other to play with them and can play together really well at times.. After all its not like they are complete 'enemies' lol

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I know exactly what you're going through! Our little biter is still biting, generally the session is relaxed but we have to be vigilant all the time (and oh so quick) especially at times of movement say when tidying up or on the mat when it's time to go home. 'Interferance' from other children is met with this response, unlike some other children who 'just' push and kick. We have bought the books mentioned here (thank you) and the child seems to be thinking about them (Mum has borrowed these to read at home which is great). We offer lots of praise when doing things well etc During a brainstorming staff meeting we wondered about suggesting the child says something when he gets the urge, like 'sausages' or whatever to divert him (our child is 4). This worked last year when we had a child who said rude words! We're also planning in more activities that the child particularly enjoys. The other children do include him and are quite sweet to him at times when they're not going the other way. So we are making small headway in other social skills.

 

We too have some parents who are quick to judge. If only they saw their children some times! Still hope we avoid having to tell a parent tomorrow that their child has been bitten! Watch this space. If we have any other ideas will let you know. Meantime good luck!

 

Deb :o

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Amethyst, I had a parent who when her child was bitten by a two year old, immediately went home and phoned the police expecting the child ( or his parents :o ) to be charged with assault xD:(:(

 

It is really difficult, the only comfort is that all these children will grow through and out of this phase. It's good to hear that the children also play together nicely, this I would tell the parents about, even take photo's of when they are playing happily together.

 

Once, when a parent demanded that I protect her child at all times from being bitten, I agreed I would love to but did she have any strategies, I asked if the biter child was playing at her house, how would she stop it? I also record the "Antecedent" to any biting incident ( if seen) and tell this to both parents, also how long it takes for a child who has been bitten to get over it ( normally about 5 seconds).

 

I think this is a situation where the adults get more upset than the children ( bless them they are so brave).

Another time when a child was bitten I said to her "Oh, you must taste nice" she skipped off quite happily telling everyone she was tasty.

 

It will all end soon, promise.

 

Peggy

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