Safety First

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At the Preschool, we recognize that biting can be developmentally appropriate for toddlers. There are many reasons that children bite, although it is rarely with the intent to hurt another child. Young children may bite for any of the following reasons:

  • Teething. Chewing on something can relieve discomfort and stop the pain of teething momentarily.
  • Sensory Exploration. An important means of learning for infants is the Oral Mode, which often continues into the toddler years.
  • Testing Cause and Effect. Young children constantly study cause and effect. Biting often produces dramatic results, generally involving a lot of noise and attention from adults.
  • Self-assertion. When a child does not yet have the language skills to express frustration, she/he may resort to biting. This may be the most common cause of the behavior.

Realizing that biting may not be entirely preventable, the staff of the Preschool makes every effort to reduce the number of biting incidents in our school. We routinely provide a variety of sensory activities and opportunities to explore cause and effect. We are also keenly tuned into when a child needs to be redirected, and we offer alternative outlets to cope with frustration.

If a child is bitten, that child is immediately comforted, the site of the bite is washed with soap and water, and ice is applied to the site. We tell the biter very firmly, “It is not okay to bite. Biting hurts very much.” We may redirect the biter to another area of the classroom. If the incident is severe or repetitive, more serious measures may be required.

While children’s rights and privacy policies direct us not to tell parents the name of the child who bit their child, we do inform the biter’s parents. Our staff works with the parents to prevent further incidents of biting. Experts suggest that the biter should not be given positive or negative attention regarding the specific biting incident.

We do understand how upset parents may be to learn that their child has been bitten; however we also understand that biting is a normal component of infant/toddler development that is quickly outgrown. We hope these situations do not occur, but if they do, we assure you that they will be handled swiftly and sensitively.

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