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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>I Know We've Talked About This a Lot, But I Have a Biter
Missjaime 10:10 PM 09-12-2016
Ok, so I have looked at lots of threads with info and discussion about biters, but it all seems very emotionally charged and I am really just looking for some good advice. My newest kiddo is an angel baby. She is my youngest, 21 months, but is my most agreeable, least tears, easy sweet baby girl. I love her. I love all my kids, but she's especially sweet. So, today a more difficult 3 year old boy, had some confrontations with DCG. He grabs toys from her, she finds new ones. He grabs those, I intervene, he cries, she walks away and finds new activity. Outside we have a slide. Older kids understand the idea of a line to wait your turn, DCG is not there yet. So she tries to get up the steps at the same time he does. He tries to push her off with his whole body, she bites him on the arm. I deal with the situation well, I think. I tell her strongly that we don't use our teeth to hurt our friends. I show her his injury, then have her sit with me while the rest play. All is well the rest of the day. End of day, I tell her parents, find out she has done this before - not regularly, but maybe 5 times in the last 6 months. I tell victims family, they are livid. There aren't even any marks, so I feel like they are over reacting. Help me with next steps. How do I assure victims parents while helping DCG work through this stage? I don't want to lose either family. Thoughts?
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Cat Herder 07:20 AM 09-13-2016
Originally Posted by Missjaime:
I have looked at lots of threads with info and discussion about biters

it all seems very emotionally charged

I am really just looking for some good advice.
I want your hard earned experience for free, but I reserve the right to bash it, then ask for more.

You can do better than that. Is that really what you wanted to say?
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Play Care 07:28 AM 09-13-2016
I'm actually not concerned so much with her biting.
I'm more concerned with the fact the 3 yo has so much access to younger children when it's clear he is not able to handle it. He should not be able to take her toys away. When they were using the slide, you should have been right there with them, but especially the toddler as you know she doesn't understand turn taking.
Too much freedom, IMO. I would be making areas for the kids to be in, and seriously clamping down on Mr. "Hands McGee"
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Unregistered 07:30 AM 09-13-2016
Originally Posted by Missjaime:
Ok, so I have looked at lots of threads with info and discussion about biters, but it all seems very emotionally charged and I am really just looking for some good advice. My newest kiddo is an angel baby. She is my youngest, 21 months, but is my most agreeable, least tears, easy sweet baby girl. I love her. I love all my kids, but she's especially sweet. So, today a more difficult 3 year old boy, had some confrontations with DCG. He grabs toys from her, she finds new ones. He grabs those, I intervene, he cries, she walks away and finds new activity. Outside we have a slide. Older kids understand the idea of a line to wait your turn, DCG is not there yet. So she tries to get up the steps at the same time he does. He tries to push her off with his whole body, she bites him on the arm. I deal with the situation well, I think. I tell her strongly that we don't use our teeth to hurt our friends. I show her his injury, then have her sit with me while the rest play. All is well the rest of the day. End of day, I tell her parents, find out she has done this before - not regularly, but maybe 5 times in the last 6 months. I tell victims family, they are livid. There aren't even any marks, so I feel like they are over reacting. Help me with next steps. How do I assure victims parents while helping DCG work through this stage? I don't want to lose either family. Thoughts?
Did you tell the 3 year old parents about his behavior. Sounds to me like dcg was tired of being pushed around. Biting is not right but he had a huge role to play in him getting bit.
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Blackcat31 07:36 AM 09-13-2016
Originally Posted by Play Care:
I'm actually not concerned so much with her biting.
I'm more concerned with the fact the 3 yo has so much access to younger children when it's clear he is not able to handle it. He should not be able to take her toys away. When they were using the slide, you should have been right there with them, but especially the toddler as you know she doesn't understand turn taking.
Too much freedom, IMO. I would be making areas for the kids to be in, and seriously clamping down on Mr. "Hands McGee"
While I absolutely agree with this... (the 3 yr old should not have that type of physical access to a younger child) I got the feeling just from your description of the situation that you may "favor" DCG a bit and maybe DCB is feeling that?

I can't say that for sure as I do not know your situation and am not there but just in the way you described the DCG (many thoughtful words/phrases) and how you described DCB. Difficult.

If I were his parents I'd be livid too....it's the providers job and responsibility to keep all the children safe. If you have a known biter, you need to keep that child from having access to ANY of the other kids. period.

Biting maybe common for some kids but it's not normal and it's not acceptable. You DO risk losing both kids if it continues to happen.

Why? Because exactly like you said... this is a a very emotionally charged topic. Human bites are worse than any type of bite and biting in child care causes more issues, misunderstanding and probably more withdrawals/terminations than ANY other unwanted behaviors combined.

My ONLY advice is to make DCG your shadow. She should NOT have access to anyone else throughout the day until she is no longer biting. A day, a week, a month? I have no idea.... it's however long it takes to continue keeping others safe and away from her if biting is her go-to method of managing conflicts.

Continuous positive role modeling, extra diligent supervision and swift intervention are your go-to tools!
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Blackcat31 07:37 AM 09-13-2016
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
Did you tell the 3 year old parents about his behavior. Sounds to me like dcg was tired of being pushed around. Biting is not right but he had a huge role to play in him getting bit.
NO MATTER what another child does, being bitten is NOT acceptable.
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childcaremom 07:44 AM 09-13-2016
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
While I absolutely agree with this... (the 3 yr old should not have that type of physical access to a younger child) I got the feeling just from your description of the situation that you may "favor" DCG a bit and maybe DCB is feeling that?

I can't say that for sure as I do not know your situation and am not there but just in the way you described the DCG (many thoughtful words/phrases) and how you described DCB. Difficult.

If I were his parents I'd be livid too....it's the providers job and responsibility to keep all the children safe. If you have a known biter, you need to keep that child from having access to ANY of the other kids. period.

Biting maybe common for some kids but it's not normal and it's not acceptable. You DO risk losing both kids if it continues to happen.

Why? Because exactly like you said... this is a a very emotionally charged topic. Human bites are worse than any type of bite and biting in child care causes more issues, misunderstanding and probably more withdrawals/terminations than ANY other unwanted behaviors combined.

My ONLY advice is to make DCG your shadow. She should NOT have access to anyone else throughout the day until she is no longer biting. A day, a week, a month? I have no idea.... it's however long it takes to continue keeping others safe and away from her if biting is her go-to method of managing conflicts.

Continuous positive role modeling, extra diligent supervision and swift intervention are your go-to tools!


This is how I do it, too.

I also go over this in my interview process. I have a 3 strike policy (thank you board ) and explain to parents that I am not debating whether or not it is normal behaviour or not (thank you again board ) but that I am prepared to deal with it for a limited time and not an extended one. This goes for any behaviour that *I* deem above and beyond (biting, aggression, language, etc). I don't want to shadow a child indef as I have a group of children to care for.

I would tell the older one's parents how you are handling it (always helps to reassure them and make them feel better knowing that you have a plan in place) and then come up with a plan if the biting continues. Parents are more understanding when you have a plan for it happening and know that it won't continue long term (in my experience).

Good luck! I also tell parents that everyone gets upset in these situations (parents of biter, parents of bitten and the provider). Having a plan makes everyone feel better.
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Missjaime 08:16 AM 09-13-2016
Thanks for all the advice, everyone.
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Nurse Jackie 08:23 AM 09-13-2016
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
NO MATTER what another child does, being bitten is NOT acceptable.
I never said being bitten was acceptable. However any human being gets tired of being pushed around and from what she described he had been picking on her all day. She's not even 2 yet and that was her way of defending herself. It sounds to me like the 3 year old needs to be shadowed especially if the dcg had never bitten anyone in daycare before. Just like biting someone is not ok trying to knock her off of the slide with his body isn't either. He could've injured her. But hey thats just my opinion.
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Boymom 08:28 AM 09-13-2016
Originally Posted by Missjaime:
Ok, so I have looked at lots of threads with info and discussion about biters, but it all seems very emotionally charged and I am really just looking for some good advice. My newest kiddo is an angel baby. She is my youngest, 21 months, but is my most agreeable, least tears, easy sweet baby girl. I love her. I love all my kids, but she's especially sweet. So, today a more difficult 3 year old boy, had some confrontations with DCG. He grabs toys from her, she finds new ones. He grabs those, I intervene, he cries, she walks away and finds new activity. Outside we have a slide. Older kids understand the idea of a line to wait your turn, DCG is not there yet. So she tries to get up the steps at the same time he does. He tries to push her off with his whole body, she bites him on the arm. I deal with the situation well, I think. I tell her strongly that we don't use our teeth to hurt our friends. I show her his injury, then have her sit with me while the rest play. All is well the rest of the day. End of day, I tell her parents, find out she has done this before - not regularly, but maybe 5 times in the last 6 months. I tell victims family, they are livid. There aren't even any marks, so I feel like they are over reacting. Help me with next steps. How do I assure victims parents while helping DCG work through this stage? I don't want to lose either family. Thoughts?
I also have a biter, so I understand how you feel! I started really observing him to see what exactly was making him bite. He wants to be a big boy with all of the other big boys. When the big boys don't include him, he gets upset and tries to bite, so I keep him separated now and try to keep him occupied with other activities! I hope this doesn't last too much longer for us!!
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Blackcat31 08:36 AM 09-13-2016
Originally Posted by Nurse Jackie:
I never said being bitten was acceptable. However any human being gets tired of being pushed around and from what she described he had been picking on her all day. She's not even 2 yet and that was her way of defending herself. It sounds to me like the 3 year old needs to be shadowed especially if the dcg had never bitten anyone in daycare before. Just like biting someone is not ok trying to knock her off of the slide with his body isn't either. He could've injured her. But hey thats just my opinion.
I agree with many of your points.

I just don't think the behaviors should be connected (for the parent)

Pushing and using your body to physically get what you want is NOT okay.

Biting is NOT okay.

But I don't think we should relate the two because that gives the parents ammo to say "Well, he deserved it because she did X so..."

I totally get what you meant, I just hate to ever lean towards giving parents any type of validation for their child's unwanted behaviors.

I certainly don't want Janie or her parents to feel justified in her biting Billy since she was really only doing it because she was tired of Billy being so aggressive.

I know there is a root and a reason as to why kids bite others but when we combine those into one issue verses two separate issues, I think the solutions are simpler and not as complicated.
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Ariana 10:26 AM 09-13-2016
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
NO MATTER what another child does, being bitten is NOT acceptable.
Definitely true but for me there is a way to deal with a child who bites in self defence and a child who preys upon others to bite.

In this case since it was self defense you really need to work on giving dcg the words to show her anger by simply putting her hand up and out saying "STOP" in a firm voice to the boy. I would also work on being right there whenever the two interract and teaching them both how to use their words.
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Missjaime 07:19 PM 09-13-2016
Hi everyone! I wanted to thank you all for your good advice -today was good. I shadowed the "biter" and intervened once when she went in for a bite. The rest of the day was good. I had a good talk with the "victim's" mom, she was much more understanding today. I have hope that this will end up being an isolated incidence and with some extra attention and focus on everyone learning appropriate ways to interact we will move past it.

Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
I want your hard earned experience for free, but I reserve the right to bash it, then ask for more.

You can do better than that. Is that really what you wanted to say?
Cat Herder, I'm sorry if that is how my post came off, that was not at all how I meant it. I had been reading a parent forum discussion about biting and there was lots of blame, shaming, and tears on all ends about the subject. I think what I was trying to say was that all I was looking for was some day to day advice about how to handle it and was hoping to avoid the vitriol that tends to follow this subject. I know that this forum has years and years of experience and that is why I came here for advice. I was a little stuck, because even though I have almost 20 years of experience myself, most of my experience has been with 3 and 4 year olds and I haven't had a biter in a long long time.
Again, I didn't mean to be rude and really do appreciate all the different views I read here on this forum.

A few things I wanted to mention. I did not tell the parents the situation of the bite because I agree that whatever happens, biting is never the answer and I would hate to give fuel to the fire of a biter's parents excusing their child's behavior. I had no prior knowledge that this DCG had been a biter in the past, so I had no reason to suspect that this would be a problem. She has been so easy that it really surprised me (nothing should surprise me anymore - lol). I usually do supervise the slide but at the time of the incident was cleaning and placing a band-aid on another friend's scraped knee. This, I think is the real trouble with working alone - I have to adjust myself to remembering that it's just me out there and I need to figure a better way to supervise every kid, all the time. Lastly, the "victim" is also a new child and he is still learning my norms and expectations as well, which I think plays into how he was treating the biter. We addressed a lot of things today that I think will help in the future.

Again, thank you for all your insights and advice. I love coming to this forum at the end of the day to remember that whatever my day has thrown at me, I am not alone.


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Blackcat31 07:30 PM 09-13-2016
glad you were able to openly talk with tne parents and that you've had success with shadowing!
Biting sucks but sometimes we really can get through it without any major catastrophies!
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Missjaime 07:36 PM 09-13-2016
On a related note, because the universe loves irony, my 6 year old son came home from first grade today in tears because he was in trouble for BITING another kid. My 6 year old. Who has never bit another child in all his life. The universe loves to mess with me. (BTW - my 6 year old was not around when the biting incident happened yesterday, or when I discussed it with the parents at pick up. He had no idea I had this problem yesterday. Karma).
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Cat Herder 08:10 AM 09-14-2016
I was teasing you a bit. The wording really was funny to me and I hoped a preemptive tension breaker. Biting is one of the hot button issues and is second only to "potty training" in stress and burnout causes.

Time, patience, shadowing, environment and interrupting/redirecting escalation are my tools. They are the only things that have proven to work for me.

If those don't work the only option (here) is to send the kid to a new environment. The kids needs may be vastly different than what I can offer. It happens. I don't really view it as a termination or a failure. I can't be everything to everyone and not all kids will benefit from my program. There is no shame in dropping the rope.
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Blackcat31 08:52 AM 09-14-2016
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
I can't be everything to everyone and not all kids will benefit from my program. There is no shame in dropping the rope.
I always hear music in my head when I read statements like this.
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LostMyMarbles 12:44 PM 09-14-2016
Originally Posted by Missjaime:
Ok, so I have looked at lots of threads with info and discussion about biters, but it all seems very emotionally charged and I am really just looking for some good advice. My newest kiddo is an angel baby. She is my youngest, 21 months, but is my most agreeable, least tears, easy sweet baby girl. I love her. I love all my kids, but she's especially sweet. So, today a more difficult 3 year old boy, had some confrontations with DCG. He grabs toys from her, she finds new ones. He grabs those, I intervene, he cries, she walks away and finds new activity. Outside we have a slide. Older kids understand the idea of a line to wait your turn, DCG is not there yet. So she tries to get up the steps at the same time he does. He tries to push her off with his whole body, she bites him on the arm. I deal with the situation well, I think. I tell her strongly that we don't use our teeth to hurt our friends. I show her his injury, then have her sit with me while the rest play. All is well the rest of the day. End of day, I tell her parents, find out she has done this before - not regularly, but maybe 5 times in the last 6 months. I tell victims family, they are livid. There aren't even any marks, so I feel like they are over reacting. Help me with next steps. How do I assure victims parents while helping DCG work through this stage? I don't want to lose either family. Thoughts?
None of us have the magic wand that makes biting disappear. We are all just trying our best to solve the problem. I think we have all delt with a bite at one point in time. Those that say the have never had a bitter are lucky or fibbing lol!

Some times there is not a rhyme or reason. I have had to, what's the nice phrase, oh yea, have a shadow. That is classy for saying I don't trust you and need to take you every where I go until you get sick of it and stop acting out.

Unfortunately there is no magic answer. It's all trial and error for each individual. Sometimes a firm do not bite, it hurts your friends, works. Sometimes not. Sometimes a time out works, sometimes not.

I can appreciate you being alone with several different ages. That's what home care is about. I think the mixing of ages in a small setting teaches children how to relate to children of all ages.

Obviously you don't have eyes and hands everywhere and can not always be there every second. I am sure you are on edge and will be more alert to this situation. No scolding from me, been there, done that. It truly sucks. We are limited as to what we can do. The only advice I can give is do your best to keep the kids safe and try the shadow thing.

If you do fine the magic cure to biting, please share it!
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Tags:behavior modification, behavior plan, biting policy, biting the hand that feeds you, environments, shadow
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