Got a Biter?
Here's Some Tips
Written by Pamm Clark

It's hard to admit, but, yes, I've had biters in my child care. There have been several months with no bites, a bite here and there, and the dreded days of bite after bite. Considering the ages of the children I care for, 2 years and under, it is to be expected.

Dealing with Toddlers

To reduce biting there are several things you can do:

Think Texture! Providing lots of textures reduces biting. Provide playdough experiences, water play, frozen toys and teethers, textured blocks, foam blocks, basket of cloth items to explore, tearing paper, etc.

If teething seems to be the cause, be sure to address this issue with teethers, frozen teethers, medication, etc.

If fighting over toys is the problem, provide more than one of the favorite toys. You may need to put away the most popular toys for now.

If the children seem overwhelmed, try decluttering the room and/or moving the furniture to reduce the congestion. Maybe put half the toys away for a while.

If the children seem tired, try offering soothing activies. Sometimes I let the kids put lotion on themselves (supervised, of course), playdough is soothing, quiet TV time with the room darkened, quiet music, etc.

Toddlers are not communicators, so working on language skills helps a lot. I find myself saying, "Use your words" all day long. Also, many times the children don't know what to say, so give them the words to say, like, "I would like a turn with the doll."

Dealing with Parents

The parent's reactions are varried from shock to understaning and everything in between. It's really the parents that are hardest to deal with when biting occurs.

Something I've found helpful is to let parents know exactly what happens when a bite occurs, and that you have a plan. I now give parents a Bite Policy upon enrollment. This does two things; lets parents know exactly what happens when a bite occurs, and lets them know that a bite may occur (so they aren't so shocked if their child is bitten).

If you have a chronic biting problem involving one or more child that goes on and on, I've found it helpful to give the parents a letter letting them know what my plan is to reduce the biting. Here's a sample of a letter I've handed out:

Pamm's House Biting Policy & Bite Forms
An excellent resource is:
This book is great to read
with the toddlers:

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