3 BITES And You Are Out Policy

Updated on March 05, 2012
F.B. asks from Kew Gardens, NY
23 answers

Mamas & Papas -

What do you make of a "three bites and you are out policy" from a daycare? Do kids bite as many as three times? Where is the supervision? Is there a "behavior record" for the biter? Can the parents find a replacement daycare for the culprit?

These are all just hypothetical questions. We aren't contending with a biter or a bitee. Just wanted your thoughts on what this means to you and or your child on both sides of the equation.

F. B.

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answers from San Diego on

I don't believe it's fair or right for anyone to insinuate that the children are not being watched when they bite. It's just ignorance is bliss that brings a person to spew such things.

I don't know what to say about the policy. There are no winners, only losers in this situation. It's a fact of life. Some children bite and people tend to view them as mean or undisciplined or troubled.

I also agree that the way we handle it depends on the age. 3 and 4 year olds should NEVER bite and if they do, not more than once. If I truly had a child 3 or 4 years old or older that is biting... they would be out the 2nd time. But on the flip side, I have never let go of a younger biter.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I agree with that. Three chances are plenty. A child who can't control him/herself in a group setting like that needs to be removed, it's not fair or safe for the other children.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Detroit on

Yeah....I have to agree with that policy.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

Well, biting depends a lot on the age of the child. If the child is 3 or 4 years old then yes they're old enough to know better and shouldn't be allowed to continue to keep inflicting pain.

An infant/toddler who is teething isn't old enough to know better.

As for the supervision. You'd be surprised at how quickly a child can bite another. Right under your own nose. Now yes, the caregiver can make an active effort to keep the biter separate from the other kids. But that's not 'fair' to the biter.

As for the record, most daycares should send home incident reports and keep copies on file for situations such as that.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Wow - that's rough. Some kids are biters and they are fast. I was sooo glad that my son was the bitten, not the biter when he was that age. Much easier to deal with. It is developmental (not all kids bite) and they stop when they develop better methods of getting their needs meant. Essentially they outgrow it. The people who believe 'disciplining' a 15 month old for biting helped her stop biting are seeing coincidence - the phase just ends. When our daycare had a biter, a teacher would shadow that child. They did NOT expel children for biting. They were in fact very reassuring to the distraught parents of the biters.

How many people can really afford to give up their job because their child is going through a normal developmental phase that will likely last a month or two? Not me.

A child who bites for years is completely NOT the typical biter. The typical biter is a toddler who looks and acts just like every other toddler except for the biting.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

Biting is completly normal for children. They are at an age where they are learning how to express themselves and more times than not, are not yet aware that they are harming the other child. As a inhome childcare provider and mother of 2 boys I have seen it more times than not. When my oldest was 2 he went through a stage, as did my 18 month old. My 18 month old omes up to me and tries kissing my hand and all of a sudden theres his little teeth on it! I react and he giggles. It takes constant follow through to try and have him understand that this is "no-no behavior" He doesnt really do it too often anymore, and has never biten another child, although he did try going after my big toe the other night. As far as childcare kids thre have been a lot of them that have also done this. The worst was when I was feeding a 12 month old, and a 2 year old wanted to hug him and I told him we had to wait until after he was done. Well to make a long story short, afterwards I cleaned the 12 month old up, and brought him back into the playroom, and the 2 year old came up and hugged him and then bit him on his forehead!! As soon as the baby was calmed, I took the 2 year old out of the situation to find out he was "giving him a kiss"

It is a hard stage to conquer and all parents involved can not take it as a light matter. There needs to be consistancy in how you handle the situation. For me the children were never strictly punished, but were taken out of the sitation and had to sit down for a while and rest. I love the book no-no yes-yes. We would read that and then if they could communicate I would ask if this was a no-no or a yes-yes. Also a rule that I live by in my home, is keep your hands to yourself unless you are high fiving or giving hugs. I try not to focus on the bad situations, rather always be positive. If you make a huge deal and give them a reaction, to some a negative is better than no reaction.

All the children in my care that has gone through this, they have bitten more than 3 times, but the situation went away almost as fast as it began. So I would say the 3 bite rule is unpractical, but a certain time limit may need to be addressed. Let me also point out the biters that I have delt with were all under the age of 3.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Oh Lord, it happens SO fast!! I would be standing RIGHT there and bam! My daughter bit for about a month!!! Problem was, I AM the daycare! I lost a client b/c of it and I don't blame them. Their child was the only one gettting bitten. She quit biting as soon as that child was no longer in my care, exept once when she bit me afterward.
So, I kind of get that you should kick a child out to protect the others, but a biter WILL bite more than 3 times. It's a phase that tons of kids deal with and it usually lasts a month or more. My child would have been kicked out of any daycare with that rule and I would have been left with no childcare. She was 15 mos. when she was doing it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Oh my gosh - state law?!

Unfortunately, my daughter was (is?) a biter. My daycare is incredible about it - very reassuring to me, and they simply take additional precautions to avoid giving her the opportunity. She seems to go through spurts of biting more than just "chronic" biting.

I've also discovered that she does it more often when she's happy and probably emotional (hugging, loving on someone) rather than when she's upset. It's almost like her happy emotions bubble over and she needs something more than a hug to help release those emotions. At least, that's how I feel sometimes (though, I don't bite now - I used to when I was younger - maybe it's genetic?).

ETA - my daughter is under two, and the biting at school happened mainly when she was between 16 and 19 months. And we are not "softies" in the discipline department, either.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Seeing that my son was the victim of a biter and two of the three bites were in one day and all three in one week - I agree with the rule. My BIL was bitten so hard when he was a child in day care that he had to be rushed via ambulance to address the bite, needless to say that child did not get to three bites. Biting is dangerous and needs to be addressed. Kids bite for different reasons, mostly communication based and can be a red flag for something deeper going on. When a child bites, the first time, the adults need to take a step back and look into this child's home life (how do the parent's treat the situation/discipline), where they rank on the developmental charts (does EI need to be called in for development issues?), and their over all health and behaiviors. Biting is not "just a phase" for most biters - they do it for a reason.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I find this debate silly. Kids don't bite because they're mean or bad. Providers can't spend all day following ONE kid around because they might bite someone. It's not as if a vampire is biting your child, and your child is not going to be hospitalized or scarred for life they get bitten. It's a stage like many other things, that just have to run it's course. I feel for parents of biters that have to work & deal with the stress of losing a provider because of some ridiculous policy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Well, since biting is a natural behavior for children I would say a center would be empty in their toddler and pre-school age classes and lots of moms would have to quit work because child care would not be an option for them.

Kids bite, teachers cannot sit on a certain child all day to watch for them to bite, they bite even when someone is watching them closely. Kids bite, they are sneaky about it.

Kids need their care providers to research reasons kids bite and then implement some options in those classrooms to help those biters to have other things to chew/bite.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We had a small spot of trouble with it, but it stopped pretty quickly. It seems to be frustration/communication related. I get the rule, cause you can't let it go on forever, and the parents have to deal with it. If there's no rule, there's no pressure to deal.

On a humorous note, I had to laugh reading a bite-related question from "F. B." - LOL!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I don't remember there being a firm limit for my DD's daycare. But I do know that biters are removed if it cannot be resolved. My friend had it happen with one of her children and was able to place her in a different daycare situation (not clear if the child is now in a small home daycare, but that was something they considered).

My own DD bit someone and I was told it was seemingly unprovoked. At around 1 yr, they get bitey. We were not told the victim (nor was the victim's parents told who bit him) just that here's a copy of the report, please initial that you received a copy and discussed it with the teacher. To that point, DD had only bitten me (for my attention, on my leg, and never deep) and we were teaching her that was Not Good. She did not get my attention when she did that. And, boy, was she quick! We worked hard with her to use words or signs and when she got riled up, she needed to remember not to bite. Playing "puppy" with a toddler can backfire sometimes.

DD was in a class with 5-6 toddlers and 2 teachers, so I wasn't worried about the supervision. Frankly, my own DD was bitten at a family event surrounded by adults. She and another toddler were playing off to the side at a baby shower. Then there was screaming. Initially I blamed DD since she bit someone before in daycare, but my cousin said no, it was the other girl. DD wasn't doing anything to the child that Cousin noticed, though it may have been conflict over a toy. And it was a NASTY bite, too. Almost broke the skin.

So I've been on both sides. I think the biter should have a chance to work it out but not to the point where other kids are going home every day with big bites. There has to be a line and maybe they've decided that 3 strikes makes sense.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

One of my neighbors watched my boys for a few weeks. My youngest was a biter, but not until he started with her. He was about 19 months or so when she started watching him. I couldn't figure out why he was biting! One day I was picking him up and he was sitting on the floor so I could put his shoes on. Her little boy, one year older than mne, was kicking him. Not a huge kick, but swinging his foot into my son's back and she said nothing to him.

I looked at her son and said if you don't stop I will allow him to bite you. Then I told her I understood why he was biting her son - this was also the oly child he bit. She was allowing her son to be mean to my son and at such a young age he had no other way to fight back.

3 bites and you're out seems insane to me - the parents who agree with it most likely never had a biter.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

At my son's former daycare, they had a biter. The child's parents did NOTHING to stop the behavior, but the provider handled it very well. When he bit my son, my husband went through the roof b/c this was such as on-going issue. My son came home each day telling us "who" was bitten that day. I called and asked about their policy- she didn't have one, but had spoken with the child's mother earlier that day and let her know that if the biting did not stop within the next two weeks, they would need to seek alternate childcare, immediately.

Not sure what the parents did, but the behavior did stop pretty quickly. Our provider explained that she didn't like having such rigid rules b/c children bite for different reasons and it's quite common (both of which are true). I appreciated her desire to work with children individually rather than having a blanket rule.

Biting isn't a supervision issue in most cases. It happens incredibly fast and often without any provocation. In our case, the provider kept an incident log, so yes, there was a record. I'm not a fan of super-stringent policies. They seem like a good idea... until your kid is the biter!


answers from Spokane on

Our old daycare had the same rule. She did keep record b/c my youngest son got bit 2x by the same offender and I had to sign a form each time saying I was notified.
My oldest was accused of being a biter at his first daycare. He was put in time-out and I was made to sign a form. Come to find out it was never him. The biter was caught in action and admitted he was the one all along. He was older than my son who was only 2 and too young to defend himself verbally against the accusation.


answers from Chicago on

Oh my goodness I am going through this with my daughter. occassionally when she was about 15 months I'd get notes that either she bit or got bitten during the day. Then months went by and no biting. Now she's 2 and the director spoke to me recently as she has been biting regularly and trying to figure out why it started again, what we do at home, etc. Turns out (we went to the dentist yesterday) - she has 3 molars poking through at one time....

There is a p*ssed off parent as a little boy got a bite on his arm (they didn't see it happen but assume it's my child since she's the usual culprit) that still had marks after a few days.......interesting as my daughter got bit 3 weeks ago and there is still a little mark from it left on her arm.

Kids bite - it's normal development - this wasn't a phase my 5 year old went through - however he did get bitten by other kids....I don't think it's a fun thing to hear that my child, or others, get hurt - but it's normal in the toddler age.



answers from New York on

I haven't seen a place with this policy. It really doesn't make sense for toddlers since it can take a while for a child to get that biting is unacceptable and learn better skills. It might make sense for an elementary school but not a daycare.
BTW, my son was pretty aggressive his first year of preschool (mostly hitting and pushing, not biting but he was one of the biggest kids in the class). The teachers worked really hard with my son and cooperating with us to teach him better social skills. They send him home for the day early a few times but never threatened to kick him out. It took months for him to get completely over the behavior problems.



answers from New York on

Yes, kids do bite as many as three times. There is always supervision but when you have two children "fighting" over the same toy and little or no verbal skills it can and will happen.
General questio; Do you play a nibbling game with your child? What does that tell the young child, that its okay to bite. After all Mom or Dad does it with them. If you do STOP it. Help put words in your child's mouth by saying if you want to play with the truck Jonny has ask him-say can I play with the truck when you are done. Then divert your childs attention to something else. But watch to see that when Jonny is finished have Jonny give it to the other child. Be consistant and persistant. Good luck!



answers from Syracuse on

I was a biter, luckily my mom was a SAHM! My son's daycare has a biting policy but no where does it list 3 times and your out! My son's been bitten twice and he bit another little boy once. His daycare was great about keeping me informed and we all just worked out the best way to help each kid through that phase, luckily its over! Pretty much his daycare just requires you be aware of it and work to stop it from happening, if a child continued and it became a safety issue is when they would remove them.... not for some random number of times...


answers from Kansas City on

I will just agree with Katie S about how fast a child can bite. You can be standing there and it just happens. Even little ones should not be allowed to bite and need removed if it continued. You can get infection from a bite that breaks skin.



answers from Philadelphia on

first off is ok i got a little giggle out of "F." B. asking a biting question... lol
Ok.... honesly I think all the people who are saying.. yes kick them out... no excuse ...the parents are doign NOTHING... clearly never had a biter. Good for you, I am happy for you... but be careful life and karma are funny and your holy than thou " it is the parents and they are developmentally delayed rotten kids" could bite you in the a$$ with the next one.... Biting is a phase.. some kids bite... some hit. Weird that there are not three hits and you are out rules.
Yes if not handled correctly it can become a maladaptive negative behavior... but for most 18m-2 yr old it can just be a "phase".
also to the person who said the parents do nothing.. how do you know? are you in their home?
My son was a biter... only a few times at home but much more at day care. We talked to the day care with every report... what else can we do? and the day care kept giving us the line "it is a phase".... they did not take it very seriously. Until he had six incident in one day... turn out he and the other biter... took turns biting each other all day. I guess i was lucky his biggest victim was also a biter and both sets of parents handle it reasonably and not demanding the other kid be removed. No skin as ever broken, no first aid other than kisses and cuddles.
After that he had a shadow, all of this took maybe two months from first bite to none. He has never bit since, and is a not an aggressive kid in any way now.....


answers from Kansas City on

I know the necessity of this rule...however, my daughter was the biter for a while. She was caught 4 or 5 times. She only bit at daycare, we worked on it at home. She knew it was a no no.

Nothing worked better than her getting bit by another child...she was once bit so badly by my nephew that she actually was bleeding...and once bit at daycare by the boy who bit constantly.

She quit biting after this!

But I do see the need to have some sort of line, but I don't know that three is the magic number. Most biters are little ones and many bite because they can't use their words.

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