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Old 09-04-2018, 06:23 PM
Lissa Kristine's Avatar
Lissa Kristine Lissa Kristine is offline Member
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Location: New Jersey
Posts: 57
Default Self-Biting Issues

I am an assistant teacher in a two-year-old class (either newly two or nearly two). We have one girl in particular, M, who is a challenge. M (who will be 2 at the end of this month) is a biter. Occasionally, she bites completely unprovoked, but she ALSO bites when she's angry/frustrated.

She has bitten or attempted to bite me SEVERAL times (and when that doesn't work, she resorts to hitting). Usually, it's because she doesn't want to follow instructions (like when I stopped her from taking a toy out of someone's hand).

Often, her response to not getting her own way is to look me dead in the eye and bite her own hand. (Occasionally, she tries to get sympathy by showing me the bite mark later, but it doesn't work.My co-teacher and I are generally on the same page about M biting herself; she's doing it to herself and we aren't going to give into her demands.

The issue we're having is that several of the children are copying the behavior now. If they don't get their way, they are starting to bite themselves. Needless to say, if parents realize that their children are copying behaviors they're picking up from someone else in the classroom, they are NOT going to be happy.

The director is generally unhelpful when it comes to the biting situation- just repeating not to bite. We are doing our best to keep M from biting the other children (but at times I've been alone with up to 14 kids, so it's not always possible), but that doesn't seem to help with the issue of M biting herself and the other kids copying it.

I'm just at a loss as to what to do about this situation. I went to the library today and got some books about not biting (along with some other books that I think the kids will enjoy) and I've been known to play "Don't Bite your Friends" from Yo Gabba Gabba, but this is one of the worst biters I have ever seen in a classroom. (I've dealt with several bad biters, but none that bit or attempted to bite as often as M does).
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Old 09-05-2018, 06:20 AM
Ariana's Avatar
Ariana Ariana is offline
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Can she talk? Teach her to say the word “help”. Try to get her to say it when frustrated, angry, needing something. The behavior needs to be replaced with something pro social.
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Old 09-07-2018, 05:01 PM
Lissa Kristine's Avatar
Lissa Kristine Lissa Kristine is offline Member
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 57

She isn't the most verbal in the class, but she's also not the least.

She typically bites when she doesn't get her own way. We are trying to discourage the kids from playing behind the changing table area for a few reasons

1.) It is near the door and this girl has a tendency to bolt out of the room.

2.) The changing table creates a blind spot which is a safety hazard if there's only one teacher in the room.

3.) There are no locks on the cabinets and there are things we would rather the kids NOT get into.

So, there are times I need to redirect DCG and move her away from the changing table area. Apparently "come play with toys" is really offensive because that's something that will set her off. So is telling her she needs to sit with her sippy cup or not letting her steal food from her friends (or try to look for leftovers in the garbage.)

She's nearly two, so I get that she's going to test the boundaries. However, I have also noticed that her tantrums with me are getting less extreme. She's still biting herself just as often, but I think she's catching on that it's not going to work on me. All she's doing is hurting herself.

She attempted to bite someone today. Fortunately, she was stopped just in time. One of her friends, however, had the perfect response (from a book we've been reading: "People are not for Biting")

"Biting is for FOOD."

(We are also using that line when it comes to putting toys in our mouths).

Another thing I've noticed about DCG is that she's one of those kids who notices when she's being left out. Some kids are oblivious if they aren't rewarded when others are. This could be used to our advantage.

For example, when she bolted out of the classroom and her friends came with me to retrieve her (they listened extremely well and did not get distracted or join in), I rewarded the good listeners with high fives. M was FURIOUS that she didn't get a high five.

Today, M refused to help clean up, made a bigger mess, and attempted to bite a friend when the friend was trying to clean up. All my students who helped clean up were rewarded with one sticker each (the entire time we were cleaning, I reminded them that we were cleaning up for stickers). Since M did NOT help, she was not given a sticker. When she protested (with a whine) I reminded her that the stickers were for my friends who helped clean up.

(Now, I don't do stickers every day for cleaning up, but sometimes a little bribery helps haha. My co-teacher leaves around 4:30-4:40. I leave at 5. So, when my co-teacher leaves, I start the clean up process. Then, if we have time before I have to move the kids into the room they combine it at 5 (my class combines with the 2.5 and 3 year old classes), I put on music (they love "Moana," and "Frozen" and blow bubbles. It keeps them entertained and keeps the room from being destroyed.
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