Biting at Daycare

Updated on July 14, 2007
J.T. asks from Olathe, KS
9 answers

Has anyone had a child that was the victim of bites at daycare? How did you handle it? How did the daycare handle it?
My child (16 months) has been bitten at daycare, two days in a row by the same child. Apparently, this is the first time he has bitten and he only bites her. The daycare has suggested separating the group into two groups in an attempt to separate the biter from my child. I have kept her home because I don't want her to be around this kid. Aside from the biting I have previously been very happy with the daycare and my daughter loves the people there. We are considering taking her back in to see if the separation works to keep them apart. Any thoughts on this? Would you take your child back? What do you think of the daycare's suggestion to attempt to separate them?

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answers from Springfield on

My daughter has also been the victim of biting at her daycare. I also considered moving her, but ultimately chose not to. I think that your daycare is doing a good job of trying to prevent biting from happening again...however, it may continue to happen for awhile. It takes a while for a child to learn not to bite. In the meantime, many other children are learning that they don't want to be punished for biting, and will not bite (at least, that is what happened at my daughter's daycare). My daughter learned a lot from this: biting hurts, how to be empathetic towards someone who is bitten, and that she doesn't want to ever bite.

I am an educator at an elementary school. What I realized is that at every point in your child's life, there will be children that you don't want your child around. Unless you want your child to live in a bubble, you can't move her every time she is around a child that you don't like. Something else that my daughter learned from this experience is how to get along with others, and to even eventually like the biter!!!! (The biter, after long last, finally stopped biting, and now she comes home telling me what a nice boy he is.) I think that although biting is an extremely negative action, you have to look for the positives that can come from it, and consider it a social educational experience. Like others have said, just because you move your daughter doesn't mean that she's not going to get bitten at the next place. The other thing that you need to keep in mind is that at her age, she really needs consistency. Taking her out of her daycare because of biting isn't going to provide consistency.

Good luck!! Remember....this too shall end.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I would send her back and give them a chance to remedy it. She could get bitten at any center or home daycare you try. Unfortunately your daughter is at the age where kids bite and pull hair etc. I'd give them another attempt at keeping the kids apart. If the biter keeps it up, they'll most likely move or excuse him from that room or remove him completely if it is an issue.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

My children have been victims of biting. As a parent the anger is terrible. I am outraged at any child that bites. It leaves me feeling like there is something terribly wrong with the child that bites. But those are just feelings and common sense takes over when I calm down.

My experience as a provider tells me that there is not anything wrong with a child that bites. It is a stage and now that your child has been bit, the likelihood is great that the next time your child is very frustrated she will now become the biter. If you remove her from this group your child will likely bite in her new daycare and the horrible cycle will continue.

I hate biting in every way. I hate the way it sneaks up on us without any warning. I hate the way the child that is biting has no remorse what so ever. I hate the way the parents react. The parent of the biter is usually way over the top upset and ready to do something rash like taking them out of daycare. The parent of the biter is always looking for a reason and sure something caused their child to bite. They are certain that they must have been protecting themselves when often there is no reason we can actually figure out. I have seen how quick and surprising it is for a child to reach over and bite even during a relaxing time like resting or watching tv or listening to a story or like when the two children are seemingly quite happy with one another. It is just as likely to be in response to a toy being taken but it could be because the child is teething or just because they wanted to make the other child cry. We may NEVER know why really.

I hate how helpless I feel when it happens and that I usually end up losing 2 children. Often the child that bites has to go after they have alienated everyone and at least one of the children that gets bit will leave as well. So my income takes a dive because some parents can't figure out that it's a normal stage some children go through. I hate that I will feel like this and that it becomes about me. It sounds selfish I know but my bills go on and your caregivers bills go on. If you pull your daughter you are rubbing salt in the wounds.

I can't tell you what to do. I know when a child was biting my daughter I wished I could bite the child back but I knew it was wrong and I couldn't. I wished I could let her go but the parents needed me and I didn't want to unleash her into a new group of children. That's what so many parents do and they actually cause the behavior to spread more rapidly into more groups of kids. Most of them just don't tell us either. When we start a new child they may have just left a child because they were biting and the parent may be hoping a new environment will change it. Or they may be leaving because of their righteous indignation over their child being bit and suddenly I have a new case of biting when I haven't had one in a year or more. Um...THANKS... NOT!

My daughter is now 3 years older than when it happens to her and she still brings it up from time to time.

We went through this in my daycare recently and suddenly 2 children left. Both were kids that bit and both had done so repeatedly. I hated that their parents felt so righteously indignant over the whole thing. But we haven't had any cases of biting since. THANK GOD!




answers from Kansas City on

We had a similar experience with my son a few months back. A new child started at his daycare and was found biting all of the children repeatedly. It didn't help that my son was in a room that held newborns through 2 year olds. My son was 9 mo. while the biter was nearly 18 months. That's too large a span. So the daycare tried to remedy the situation by moving the biter into the two and up room but he continued to bite in there (although the children in that room could report it). They eventually decided to let the biter go. I was very glad that we didn't move our son as the daycare had been so wonderful otherwise. And in the whole scheme of things, it only lasted a few weeks and our son has no lasting wounds of any sort as a result. I would just make sure the daycare knows of your concern and that you're keeping a very close eye on it and make them tell you on a daily basis what they're doing to help the situation. Good luck and I'm so sorry you have to go through this. It's no fun at all.



answers from Kansas City on

I have just recently gone through this same situation with my daughter being a victim of a biter. I was very upset the 1st time it happened and then even more upset the 2nd. Then noticed they had placed my child in a summer camp group with the child. I went to the director and explained my concerns which she completely understood. They switched the biter into a different group not my daughter. I did not want her to be taken away from her friends she had gone to school with all year because she was a victim. Definately continue to take your child to school so she doesn't feel like she is being punished for someone else hurting her. I also had a talk with my daughter and told her to stay away from the child because she doesn't know how to play nice with others. Some may not agree with that but my daughter does her best to stay away from her when they are on the playground or combined in another group for whatever reason. Alot of schools have a 3 bite rule and your out now that also depends on the age. In my childs case the biter is 3 going to be 4 which to me is completely unacceptable to be biting at that age. The Director also told me if it does happen again she will be asked to leave the school. She also had a meeting with the mom to explain the problem and what actions will be taken if it continues. In my opinion this is exactly how this situation should be handled



answers from Kansas City on

Although I do not send my kids to daycare, I absolutely would not send her back! Can you imagine how scared she would be to go back to a place where she gets bitten?!? Even as an adult, I would be frightened and not want to go back. Would you return to a playgroup if one of the kids continued to bite yours? I would defintely remove her from that situation and find an alternative at any cost. I hope you have someone to help you out in the meantime.



answers from Kansas City on

Hi Jan,
I'm a home child care provider and I just wanted to say that if I stopped watching a child because they havd/had biten another, I would have no children to watch.

And maybe at this point your child hasn't biten someone yet but that doesn't mean she won't, it is a phase just like every other one you can think of.
Also if you are going to take her out of this daycare and then put her into another one and expect not have a biter there, goodluck.
My daughter has been biten and she has done the biting, it's one of those things what goes around comes around. In my opinion seperating the child doing the biting from the child that is getting biten does nothing. The child doing the biting needs to be put in time out everytime it happens and removed from the whole group not just one child.

Also if you are going to take your child out of daycare because of biting and understand this is a phase, then you should when hitting becomes an issue, spitting, pushing, name calling, picking on each other, and being just plain old mean.
and don't forget the good old temper tantrums.
If you don't want her to be subjected to these types of behaviors then you should probably stay home with her and also home school her this way she never has to see what kinds of behavior children have. This is not a thing biys only do or girls do this is a thing "KIDS" do in general.

We as child care providers deal with alot of behaviors I can't stand like kids whining, not listening to their parents, and I could go on and on but I tell my daycare kids they can do wherever I am not like at home with their parents but when they get to my front door they leave it on the front porch and they can pick it up on their way out and take it home with them.

I don't mean to be so blunt but it is the truth, W.



answers from Kansas City on

I don't have a child in daycare, but I have had some experience with behaviors in the school system. Although disturbing, biting is a normal behavior. When children have emotions that they cannot express they may act out with biting, hitting or pinching. I would not let this reflect poorly on the they are handling it seems appropriate. I would agree to the suggestion of dividing the group, and a few unannounced visits from you would be a good idea. Good Luck!



answers from Kansas City on

I used to work in a daycare. Unfortunately it is difficult when there is a biter. You could ask if one of the care givers is shadowing the biter. That way there is always a set of eyes on the child that bites. Usually you can tell when a child is about to bite if you are shadowing them. Seperation is a good idea and even if the biter is being shadowed they should try to keep your child seperated from the other child. I would ask if the biter is using his mouth to be aggressive, out of anger, or if he is bored. There are a lot of ways to re-direct a 1 year old. If you have always liked the daycare givers and the setting I wouldn't pull your child just yet. It is so hard to find a quality, safe daycare. Hopefully with shadowing, seperation and re-direction they can get it under control.

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