Toddler biting at daycare

How do you stop a toddler from biting other children in a daycare setting?



Dear Paula,

Very young children are often biters not so much out of anger but out of frustration at not being able to speak. They know they are supposed to use their mouths, so they use them differently. Generally, biting clears up when a child can make his/her needs known in language.

Here is one course of action that I have found effective with children under three. One teacher is assigned to "shadow" the biter. If one teacher is with that child constantly, it is very often possible to restrain the biter when you see him/her getting ready to bite. Then you repeat the rule -"We do not bite. We use words." (If the child has no words, you can say them yourself. "I know you're angry because you can't use that toy right now, right? But you cannot bite for ANY reason.") Then you can remove the child from the situation if it is warranted. Sometimes, if you've stopped the bite before it's occurred, the child can continue to play.

Now, this works only if the child is watched CONSTANTLY, which is a very difficult task. It's best to have teachers take turns being the shadow. If you have the luxury of enough teachers, however, this is an effective method of helping a biter to stop biting and start talking.

Best of luck,
Patti Greenberg Wollman

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