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Old 12-14-2016, 05:36 PM
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Angry The Alpha Male Battle of the 1 yr Old's

I wish I was kidding.

I have a class of 6 children. 5 of which are boys. For a quite awhile now we've had a biting issue, which I've been trying to address with teethers or drinks of cold water. We read the "Teeth Are Not for Biting" book several times a day. During group time we talk about how our friends are not food, how we should hug instead hurt; I offer high-fives for good choices. I've tried re-arranging the room, putting out more sensory items, changing up the toys - anything I can think of.

It has only made things worse. I literally cannot get anything done without one child bulldozing the other down and biting them in the back. I cannot corral them for circle time, to sing songs, work on sign language, or even do art. This is a huge problem considering I work for a NAEYC accredited program and there are curriculum expectations. This week, the violence has intensified; it started with one child and now 3 of the 5 boys are doing it. They are hitting me in the face, pulling off my glasses, biting me and LAUGHING. I have been asking my Center Director for help for at least a month now to no avail, and this new development has me ready to walk out.

I don't understand what I'm doing wrong. And I don't know how to correct the behavior; redirection doesn't work, I can't seem to get them back on to a schedule due to the constant chaos, and it just absolutely breaks my heart. I loved my job, and now I'm breaking down in tears every night at home, and have to force myself to go back to work in the morning. I am so fed up and frustrated. Any suggestions?

Last edited by Michael; 12-14-2016 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 12-14-2016, 05:40 PM
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Welcome to the forum.
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Old 12-14-2016, 05:42 PM
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I would scale back everything. Go back to basics. It sounds like they're either over stimulated or being thrown into chaos because of pure frenzy.
Safety trumps curriculum every single time.
Start w a few toys and one activity.
They are not ready for more.
They are showing you that.
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laundrymom View Post
I would scale back everything. Go back to basics. It sounds like they're either over stimulated or being thrown into chaos because of pure frenzy.
Safety trumps curriculum every single time.
Start w a few toys and one activity.
They are not ready for more.
They are showing you that.
I agree. I would pull back now, reestablish the basics, and then start working things in one at a time. Not easy but easier than trying to shove it all in at once.

Good Luck
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Old 12-15-2016, 03:56 AM
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I am dealing with one biter/aggressor and it is wearing. I can't imagine having more than that in a group.

I agree with the advice you've been given. Can you pinpoint who is the alpha? And who is trying to be alpha? I try to keep those personalities separate at all times to reduce the conflict.

I would also chat with parents, maybe send home a little note, about simple techniques to do at home to help them in care. We do a lot of simple phrases: my turn, all done, help please (for when their words aren't working), etc. It takes a lot of work but I am starting to see a bit of progress. I need to stay right in the thick of things and can't turn my attention away for long. I try to create separate play areas so that I can separate personalities and give them a chance to regroup before rejoining friends.

In my case, I am able to term if I don't see improvement (and just did), because it is completely stressful and wearing. I would continue to speak to your director about your concerns. That's not a fun environment for anyone.
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Old 12-16-2016, 05:26 AM
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Pick up the book "No Biting" by Gretchen Kinnell. It'll help you understand why some of the methods you're trying are not helping, and help you put together a long-term plan.

Having that book helped me get through the transitional period while I had a 16mo who was biting. He gradually developed communication skills other than biting, and we've been bite-free for about three months now.
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Old 12-16-2016, 07:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laundrymom View Post
I would scale back everything. Go back to basics. It sounds like they're either over stimulated or being thrown into chaos because of pure frenzy.
Safety trumps curriculum every single time.
Start w a few toys and one activity.
They are not ready for more.
They are showing you that.
Yes. Do you have high chairs/boosters at the table? I would put them up for a story. Put them up when your back is turned, etc. Separate each child for play. One in this area, one in that area, and try to identify triggers and instigators. That's tough.

I would also be chatting with the director, because she's going to end up losing her entire room if this keeps up. Every parent WILL pull.
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:02 PM
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Thanks for the advice, everyone! I scaled everything back and added a lot more large motor activity to our day. This means constant baby mower, poppers and vacuum noise, but it's worth it! I brought in a basketball hoop, and they love that too. I think "making baskets" is one of their favorite activities!

The smaller toys that got fought over most often have been put up in my teacher cabinet and we now only play with them during "circle" or "quiet" time.

I still have two little boys who constantly battle, but now they "just" pull each others hair and try to tackle each other. I try to keep them busy doing different things but diaper changing times are still a challenge. A co-worker suggested putting them in high chairs and letting them color during these times, so I may try that out tomorrow.
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Old 01-05-2017, 02:14 AM
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That's great things have improved with your new set up I just wanted to mention when I read your update, you said ypu might use high chairs for coloring during other kid's diaper changing... That may not be allowed by licensing. Here, we aren't allowed to strap a child into a high chair for anytime other than eating. It would be considered restraining them. I believe sections of babygates where they can't get to each other would be fine... In any case, I'm glad the classroom is going smoother and good luck with the last few hurdles to classroom zen
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:33 AM
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Have you noticed that time expands while you're waiting for children to develop new behavioral habits? Nine hours wrangling kids who bite and pull hair is about a week longer than nine hours with kids who don't.
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