My husband refuses to put my daughter in daycare until she can verbalize to us if she is being abused, neglected or mistreated in any way. She is 18 months and we are torn, because she loves seeing other little kids and I feel she needs the interaction. My husband and I will "revisit" the convo when she turns 2. However, your question popped out at me as one of the "discussion" points in my family is what if another kid hits or bites her? I looked at some other sites and found this convo that may be helpful:
My fave was one that included the below e-mail that was sent out from the teacher to all the parents of that room. If somethign like this was done in your daycare, it may force the parents of the little offender to take a closer look at their son's behavioural problem and help deal with it in a constructive manner. The answer can't be to make this child someone else's problem.
"As happens every school year, since it's common in children this age, we had an incident of biting in the classroom today. Not surprisingly, it occurred during a transition time in the day (clean up), since transitions are more stressful for children (and adults).
We will handle class dynamics after Thanksgiving break with this tried-and-true method:
1. For the child who experimented with biting, we will use a "shadow." I will switch the "shadow" (parent in this case) into the floater position for a few class sessions so that the shadow can be present, down on the floor, and immediately available to reach an arm out and protect/ guide the child to more positive responses. Biting behavior happens very, very quickly and children who are experimenting with it need undivided and close supervision.
2. For any child experiencing someone biting him or her, we want to acknowledge that it really hurts and is not okay for someone to touch your body that way. Coach children that they can move away if someone's getting too close. A sign that biting may occur is very close contact-- contentious play in tight quarters, a "hug" tightens up, many people close in line together, etc.
3. If biting occurs, keep it low-key and don't show if you yourself are upset since that's part of the cycle that feeds biting behavior-- the shocked reactions of onlookers. We also (at this age) don't "punish" a child experimenting with biting (by time-outs or other disciplinary measures) but instead focus on anticipating stressors that increase likelihood of the behavior. If biting occurs, have the child who engaged in biting help the other child by getting an icy, a band-aid, etc. Give more attention to the child who was bitten, but not too much-- keep low key.
4. If a child has experimented by biting, at a later, calm time, reiterate that "biting hurts. I can't let you bite. Teeth are for chewing food."
4. Children who were present for a biting incident are far more likely to experiment with this behavior and try it on for size. I ask all of you to closely observe / be present for your child's interactions over the coming days and be ready and able to intervene. This means that at playdates, family functions next week, etc., it will be crucial to have an adult down at child level and observant of interactions.
5. A tool to decrease biting is to (during calm times) coach your child on vocabulary that applies to emotional states, both positive and negative feelings. This can be done not only by acknowledging the child's own feelings, but by pointing out / observing feelings in others the child witnesses. Another tool is to serve chewy, crunchy food. Children experiencing an oral need respond well to "tough" snacks. A recent study found the the incidence of biting in daycares went down when chewy/tough foods like carrots, celery, sourdough bread were served as opposed to soft breads, crumbly crackers, etc.
6. Please let me know ASAP if one of your children experiments with biting since it will be crucial for us to implement shadowing.
Recently in class we have been saying the Space Bubble rhyme:
I have my very own space.
It's my body's very own place.
My space bubble is all around me.
It's not something you can see.
But if someone gets too close, I can say,
Stop, I need space.
We may use unique strategies to respond to certain behaviors, but the bottom-line goal is the one (parent education teacher) and I have discussed with you-- self-regulation, one of our big goals in Pre-Threes (alongside sensory exploration, such as today's foam painting, water play). We will continue to support each other through the occasional challenges we encounter along that road. What a great group of parents and kids alike. This might be a good time to add that today's circle time had lots of amazing self-regulation and creativity alike! The children are really growing in this direction."