24 answers

How Much Responsibility Should a Daycare Take for a Child Who Bites?

My two year old has been going to the same daycare since she was 6 weeks old. Overall we have been very happy until recently. She has begun getting bitten by another child in her class. I understand that it is a very normal stage that some toddlers go through when they can't express themselves appropriately. I would also like to say that I am sure the parents of the biter is just as frustrated as I am. However, this is becoming ridiculous. Over the last three weeks, my child has been bitten, by the same child, approximately 10 times. I have questioned the facility, who has cameras, if they can review the tapes to see if my daughter is somehow provoking this child. If it is a behaviour problem with her, I want to address it. Apparently, she isn't doing anything to this child, in fact, on two occasions they were sitting next to each other watching a movie and he just decided to bite her. My daughter is not the only child that is being bitten by this particular boy, so I feel that the problem definitely lies with him. I am at the point that I want something to be done! I don't think it's fair for my daughter to have to change classes, but she is starting to not want to go to school anymore. The daycare tells me the only repercussion they have is to send the child home if he bites twice in the same day. They have also looked at changing teachers in that classroom since the problems seem to have gotten worse since the kids got a new teacher about a month ago. My daughter loves her new teacher and it would be a shame to see her go. I'm not sure how to feel in this situation, because I know if I was the parent of the biter, I would be embarassed to bring my child to school. As a daycare provider though, I would be more concerned about the safety of the other children. Any thoughts??

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks so much for all of your responses. The day I posted this, my daughter got bit again.To answer some of your questions, There is only one teacher in the classand there are 7 children including my daughter. No, we have not been told who the biter is or what his punishment has been thus far asthat is policy. I suppose that is to avoid conflict between parents. I was so furious when I picked her up that this had happened again!! They told me that their new srategy was going to be to keep them in the same class, but separated at all times. This seems like a very low level response to me, but I am going to give themnext week to see if anything improves. IF she gets bitten again, I am taking drastic measures.

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I know that some daycares will actually have the biter leave the daycare permanently. It is very difficult on everyone involved. The daycare that my 8 month old son used to go to had a policy about biting and after so many "offenses" the parents of the biting child were asked to find another care facility. Good luck with everything.

There have been some good responses. I used to work in a preschool and we had biters as well. After the first time, the child had to be within arms length of an adult at all times. The goal was prevention. If the child bit again, timeout and isolation happened immediately each time. The parents had to sign a letter for each bite. For some kids, it did help to give them a small toy to bite instead. For others repeated timeouts were necessary. But it realy took close supervision and fast timeouts to work. It took assigning one staff person to that child alone.

Bites are painful, but they are also dangerous. If a child breaks the skin of another child, that can introduce dangerous bacteria into their system.

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While a daycare should do everything they can to ensure children aren't harmed, you have to realize that this is certainly not a new problem. I know the thought doesn't make it any easier for the bitten, but it is a normal stage which many children go through. I'm sure the parents of the biter feel awful about it, but like you, they also need childcare so they can work and provide for their family.

My daughter who is now 20, was as a toddler, a biter. I was absolutely horror-stricken at the thought that my normally sweet little child was biting others for no reason.. or even any reason. The excellent child care center that my children attended had a rather unusual approach to the 'biter' problem. I was asked to consent to having my child placed in a 'special play group'. If you haven't guessed, this group was of... biters. I was assured that for most children, being in this particular play group was for a very short time only.. usually only a day or two.. just long enough for them to be on the receiving end. As awful as this may sound, it worked and my daughter was 'instantly cured' of her biting ways once she truly understood what if was like being on the receiving end.

At the very least, I feel your provider should remove the offender(s) from the presence of the other children to keep them safe.. whether that means asking them not to return to the center until the problem is resolved (which probably won't really help the 'offender'), or by placing them in a special play group temporarily.

1 mom found this helpful

as the mother of a biter, I agree that something has to be done, especially if it's happening quite often. Luckily, for me, my son did most of his biting at home and only TRIED to bite another child once. I was prepared to remove him from PDO/daycare/sitter if needed, but not all parents can do that. You should not be the one to have to make the sacrafice though. Talk to the school and express your concerns and see if they have any solutions (you may have some solutions yourself).

good luck

1 mom found this helpful

How many children are in your daughters class? How many teachers are in the room 1 or 2? Talk to the director, explain that you understand that biting is a phase, it is and a frustrating one however your child and the others should not have to suffer at the teeth of another. If your daughters class has only one teacher, request that an additional teacher or aide be added to watch the biter and head him off at the pass. If your daughter is being bitten everyday or more than once a day, that is absolutely unacceptable and if he is able to bite that much in a day, the teacher is either over taxed with students or not pro-active enough. If this situation does not get any better and you get no satisfaction from your center, call DHR and find out if they can help. Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful

Being bitten that many times by the same child is unacceptable! You said that your daughter is not the only target. I would try talking to some of the other parents of children being bitten and approach the daycare staff together and let them know that if something is not done about it then you will be moving your children. However, it is very unfair considering your child is not the problem. The teacher needs to make more of an effort to keep this child under control too.

1 mom found this helpful

most daycares try to deal with it
i use to work at one and we tried different things but finally we told the mom she had to be out 1 week and when she came back she was much better she was about 1 1/2


I worked in a preschool before i became a legal secretary. The policy was bite 3 times out for a week. If the child came back and they continued to bite, the director told the parents they had to find some other day care/preschool. It is the same where my child goes now(not the same place I worked). Wether there is provocation or not, they should have a policy. Talk to the diector and check your hand book or policies. While I am sure the mother of this biter is frustrated, your child should be the one being taken care of by the daycare.

Good luck


I know that some daycares will actually have the biter leave the daycare permanently. It is very difficult on everyone involved. The daycare that my 8 month old son used to go to had a policy about biting and after so many "offenses" the parents of the biting child were asked to find another care facility. Good luck with everything.


First off I believe it's a State of TN regulation that there should be 1 teacher for every 4-6 children depending on the age. I think infants have a 1:4 ratio and toddlers can be 1:6. If your child only has 1 teacher then it sounds like your daycare is understaffing that room. I've not been in your situation but your daycare can ask the biter's parents to find another daycare. That is in their scope to do if the situation is not getting better. Have you spoken to any of the other parents in your child's class and gotten their thoughts/opinions? They may feel the same way as you do. I would see if you can get a meeting between the administrator and the parents of other children that have been bitten and see if you can come up with a workable solution for all.

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