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The Primeron’s Biting Policy

Is it normal for a child to bite?

Most children younger than age 3 bite someone else at least once. Most children stop biting on their own; biting that persists past age 3 or occurs frequently at any age may need treatment. Biting is not always intentional and rarely causes serious injury to another person or poses any health risks.

Why do children bite?

Children bite for different reasons, depending on their age.

  • • Between 5 and 7 months of age, children usually bite other people when they feel discomfort around their mouths or when they are in pain caused by teething. Most often they bite their caregivers. Sometimes young babies bite their mother while breastfeeding. Children of this age learn not to bite as they see and hear the reaction of the person they have bitten.

  • • Between 8 and 14 months of age, children usually bite other people when they are excited. Most often they bite a caregiver or another child close to them. A firm “no” usually stops these children from biting again.

  • • Between 15 and 36 months of age,children may bite other people when they are frustrated or want power or control over another person. Usually they bite other children; less frequently they bite their caregivers. Children of this age usually stop biting as they learn that biting is not acceptable behavior.

Reducing biting:

  • • Helping the child put words to his or her feelings, such as, “You must feel angry with Bobby for taking your toy.”

  • • Encouraging the child to use language to express himself or herself. Say, “Use your words, don’t bite.”

  • • Teaching your child empathy, which is understanding and being sensitive to the feelings of others.

  • • Encouraging activities appropriate for a child’s age and abilities. To prevent frustration, avoid activities that are too difficult or competitive.

  • • Distracting a child who is becoming frustrated with other types of play, such as dancing. Or you may want to suggest a calming activity, such as reading or working on a puzzle.

  • • Stopping a child who appears ready to bite someone. Get the child’s attention by looking straight into his or her eyes. Use a stern voice and expression and say, “No. We never bite people.”

  • • Praising a child who handles frustration successfully. Say, “Great job. You used your words when you felt angry.”

Reducing biting:

  • Step 1: Immediately separate the children and tend to the child who has been bit. Check the area and console the child.

  • Step 2: Clean bite area with soap and water. If the bite broke the skin the Director will notify the parent by phone.

  • Step 4: A bite report will be filled out for both children.

The Primeron's Course of Action:

After all preventative steps have been tried by the staff members, if the child continues to bite routinely, the director or designee will call the parent to pick up the child for the remainder of the day. Chronic biting may require that a child be suspended from enrollment for a period of time (days, weeks, etc.). If a child is suspended the parent will be informed that the child my return to the center as soon as the biting is abated.

If the child returns to the center, continues to bite, and is endangering the other children, the child may be terminated from The Primeron.

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