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We have a child in our setting who is two years old, he is quite boisterous generally, but has recently started biting. He tends to target the same children😩 (always very timid children). He has very limited speech and doesn’t always seem to understand what we say to him. He has only been with us since January. Please help, I’ve worked in childcare for years and have only ever had a couple of biters and after being spoken to never bit again, so I’m struggling with how to stop this. The child randomly bites, there is never a tussle or anything before hand, in fact the other day the child was just standing next to another child and he bit him. I don’t have a separate biting policy (if anyone would like to share that would be great), I have a behaviour policy. I have spoken with parents and they say the child doesn’t do this at home, but we aren’t convinced. Please can anyone offer help/advice? 

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Oh biting is horrid isn't it? so nearly always it is about communication....he will be trying to tell you something, you just need to work out what it is. But for the next couple of weeks i would suggest a member of staff shadows him constantly.(difficult but necessary of you don't want complaints!) 

Teach him how to play/use good eye contact/praise when he's done something right/try to ignore bad behaviour. don't react too much if he bites...sort out the bitten child first be very clear with good facial expressions how you are feeling. Teach the other children to say no or stop if needed loudly (and practice!) this will give the staff a headsup! and give them a way to play without fear. Try to avoid the timid ones playing with him until this is settled. Don't use sentences like hands are for playing not for biting ..he won't understand it!!!! 

If he has had any mouth issues/trauma there may be a deeper problem...he may need feedback stimulus from the biting and so may need a chew toy. Speak to your Ed Psychologist for more info.

Please try to avoid staff being negative with him...he needs positive affirmations and these need to be done in front of the other children so that they understand he can be well behaved and play well, otherwise they will start to avoid him...which will cause hurt and frustration and potentially more biting to get them to react to him.

Try doing an ABC chart to work out if there are any triggers.

Keep him occupied with LOTS of open ended sensory activities.

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We had a serial biter.  

He'd had a very troubled past, but we couldn't you positive praise with him at that was the actual trigger! 😳  

What worked with him was always giving him jobs to do, so that he felt important and we would thank him for doing them- it did wonders for his self-esteem.

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Some good advice here already.  I agree there will be a reason he is biting - and it might even be to get a response from adults.  It's really difficult but important to react calmly when it happens (the thing we obviously can't control is how the other child reacts).  I find re-direction the most useful response.


These chewy tubes are good (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chewy-Tube-Green-Knobbly/dp/B005QUK8SS/ref=asc_df_B005QUK8SS/?tag=googshopuk-21&linkCode=df0&hvadid=310746095687&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=8877634947145903728&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9046778&hvtargid=pla-420082206893&psc=1)


They might be helpful if it is more of a sensory seeking action.  As finleysmaid has mentioned trying to engage him with lots of fun sensory activities will also likely be helpful


The other aspect to consider is that he is using biting to communicate something to you - he is perhaps finding something too noisy or is disengaged.  It would be useful to think about alternative communication systems that might help him to understand/communicate.  Symbols can be really helpful in this regard - whether they are key symbols worn by staff members on a lanyard, or simple chat boards made up of symbols related to different areas of the setting - so a sand board perhaps or one for snack time.


Happy to chat over it further if it would be helpful.

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