Biting at Daycare - Medway,MA

Updated on July 01, 2010
L.C. asks from Medway, MA
9 answers

I have a 2 1/2 year old who goes to daycare 3 days a week. It is a family daycare in a home, children range in age from 3 mos to 4 yrs. I love the provider and am very happy. However, yesterday for the 2nd time my daughter was bit at daycare. It is brought to my attention immediately and the provider is very apologetic. It is the same child who has bit her twice. Apparently, they have been having an issue with this child who is 1 1/2 years old. They are giving her timeouts and punishment for biting. However, my child is still getting the brunt of it. Obviously this is a situation that no one is happy about --- the provider, myself and even the "biter's" mom. I do not want to change providers and I think unfortunately with kids sometimes things happen. This was very easy to say the first time, but now with the second time, I'm getting more frustrated. Thoughts???

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answers from Boston on

As the mother of a former "bite-ee" I totally hear your frustration. My daughter was bitten at least 8 times, all by the same little girl. She even got bitten on the forehead when I was standing right there! It was awful. My daughter was in a larger center, and after the first couple of times, I was told that they were working with the biter, its normal, etc. After the 7th or 8th time, I told them that, while I appreciate that they have an obligation to try to meet the needs of every kid, and certainly a financial disincentive to boot kids, my child was being injured at their school and it was simply unacceptable that they couldn't keep her safe, whether or not it was "developmentally appropriate." Ultimately the biter had to have a one-on-one aide all day unless she was sleeping, and even still, her parents ended up pulling her out of the center (she was biting more kids than my daughter - sometimes 5 or 6 times per day!) Her parents were so upset; nothing was helping. The mom literally had to take time off from work and stay home with her because no center would take her and they couldn't afford one-on-one care.

I guess my long winded story is just to say that I suggest that you try to ride it out for now. If she's bitten again, talk to the provider about what specific steps you can take to keep the children apart, because it's highly unlikely that punishment is going to help. You can also ask the provider how many bites it will take for her to tell the biters parents that she can't care for that child anymore - everyone should know so that if the child does have to move elsewhere the parents are prepped for it. But I wouldn't threaten to pull your kid unless you're planning on staying home for now, because this is a problem you're going to run into absolutely everywhere.

Good luck. I know how much it stinks.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Legal action? Seriously? I hope God blesses that poster with a little biter of your own someday so you can get a little perspective! The kid is 1 1/2, she can't verbalize her thoughts! Maybe she's teething and her teeth hurt. Biting at that age is completely normal, it's how the provider reacts to it that's important.

I've been on both ends, with both kids. Usually my kids bit after being bit, but sometimes they instigated it. We attended several daycares during the biting years (moves for work) and by far the most effective policy was 'shadowing'. If a child bites they are immediately put on 24 hour shadowing, meaning that they are not allowed to be out of arms reach of a teacher for 24 hours. This strategy worked for the classroom again and again; the teachers were right there to learn the child's triggers and stop the biting before it happened, the kids just hated being tethered to teacher so they learned pretty quickly not to bite. Good luck, and remember that this too will pass.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Edited for people that are saying the biter needs to go someplace else ...!!

Is anyone reading what I am saying? This is EXACTLY why I am against letting the biter go. I have gone as many as 2-3 YEARS without even one child biting in my daycare. In 24 years, I have probably gone through the biting problem 5-6 times TOTAL. I am not talking about 5-6 bites. I am talking about 5-6 different groups that had the problem make the rounds until the last bite finally happened. If no child is biting and no child has been bit, it's possible to raise a group of infants to school age with ZERO BITES. I have done it! So when a daycare provider boots a child out and the parents bring them to another daycare provider, they USUALLY are too scared to say they are a biter. If they say that they will likely be passed over. So the unsuspecting provider that hasn't had a bite happen in YEARS is all the sudden stuck with a child that will start a round robin effect of biting that could take 6-8 months to finally get rid of.

People need to get a clue!!!!!!!!! These kids need to be quaranteened in providers homes or daycares that already have the problem. It's wrong and should be illegal to take a child to an unsuspecting provider that is not having the problem.

I run my in-home daycare and I know from many bad experiences that some of these kids can do it countless times and with no provocation. It also spreads. It's highly likely now that your daughter has been bit twice, she will respond that way sometime when she is very frustrated. This is the reason that I have a problem with letting go of biters. Imagine that the biter goes to 3-4 daycares in 6 months because they keep getting let go. Only now each of those daycares have children left behind that will start biting. Some of those parents will decide to move their children because after having their child "turn into a biter", they will blame the daycare that their child was turned into a biter and decide somehow she was sleeping on the job. Now the epidemic just keeps spreading to new daycares.

One time my own daughter was bit at least 5 times in 3 weeks from one child. Yes, I was horrified. I hated it and as the provider and the mother, I understand your feelings. At the age of 1.5, it's extremely normal and there is very little that will work to stop it other then almost entire separation. This child needs to be in a pack and play near the group when they are playing. When the other children are sitting at a table coloring, the other child can roam for a bit in a nearby room if the provider can see both. But if she can't, then the child needs to be coloring in a high chair. Somehow she needs to get the child through about 2 months without biting even if it means the child NEVER gets free roam period. I have seen children bite a child on the leg or side or elbow when they are at the table coloring. If the younger child can reach them at all, they are still in danger.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Mine was the biter not the one bitten. It was horrifying each and every time my son bit someone. One time we fled a fast food restaurant after my son left 3 kids bleeding...this was after he hadn't bitten in months...they were older kids who cornered him in the play maze and were taunting him.

I tried everything...punishments, biting him back, etc...The only thing that worked was a bit of time until he really understood how much he was hurting the other person when biting.

I sincerely apologize for all the biters out there. Us mom's of biters live in fear and mortification...a big hug to you and your daughter!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

All kids go through a phase where they explore biting things, some bite toys others bite people. Punishment is not appropriate for this natural behavior. Watching the biter every minute is appropriate behavior. It is the teachers job to protect your child. The biter should be her best buddy and rarely leave her side except when she goes to the bathroom. Since the biter is less than 2 years old she is going to find it hard to give the child chew time. Most things we recommend for chew time are choke hazards. Like gummies, apples bits, pear bits, anything that takes a moment to chew into smaller pieces, it exercises the jaw and tires it out. They get the chew time they need for this stage and they tend to not bit people instead.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

poor mom. i've been on both ends of this, and neither is easy. i completely disagree with the mom who is talking about liability and legal action. yes, biting is dangerous and not to be taken likely. it is also pretty common among pre-articulate littles who don't have a lot of ways to communicate fear, frustration or aggression. daycare providers have huge challenges to face, and guess what? the world needs them. it is so important for parents to quit threatening legal action every time a kid gets bonked or bitten (and yes, from a toddler's perspective which is the one we're talking about they ARE the same.) i am not suggesting that one serenely sails above it. suzi from kansas gives a good thoughtful rundown of how it can be handled. timeouts and punishment are obviously NOT working in this case so you need to sit down with your provider and the biter's mom and work out something that will keep your child safe(r), something along the lines of the biter being kept confined until she's learned better ways of communicating.
my sympathies to all of you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

We went through the same situation at our daycare. My question was - if they knew the child had an issue with biting why wasn't she supervised more closely? My DD came home with 2 bites in the same place! I talked to the director who felt the same way and then spoke to the teacher involved. She told her to keep the child with her at all times and keep a closer eye on her. The biting stopped =)

Just to add - the parent's were embarrassed and tried everything. Since I realized that biting is sometimes a phase I knew making a huge issue would be a disservice to everyone involved. Stopping the biter by watching her more closely seemed to be the most obvious answer and again it worked - no bites in 2 months whereas my daughter was get bitten twice in one week.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Cloud on

You don't have to change providers. The parent's of the biter need to change providers. This is a huge area of liability for your daycare mom. Remind her that you can take legal action against her and the parents. Insist that each time such a thing happens that you need to see an incident report. If your child gets a bite that breaks the skin, go to the doctor and see about submitting the bill to your provider's or the parent's insurance.

To all the moms who have biters, I have a suggestion......take your child to a counselor that specialized in play therapy so they can find a different way to express themselves. If a bite breaks the skin it means a trip to the ER for the person who has been bitten. It's painful and stressful for the child and expensive for the parents!
I realize that it's difficult to have a child that bites, but it's also extremely distressing for a parent whos child is constantly being subject to being bit.

EDIT**** as far as the post by A M. biting is NOT the same as being thumped in the head by a block or getting your "killer" place stolen at the mall. Please insist that your provider provide incident reports.

LEGAL ACTION???? yes! actually that is what was recommended by the insurance agent, lawyer and doctor that were consulted in a case of a "biter" continually biting at our church. A bite from a human mouth is dangerous. Please don't knock it if you are ignorant about a situation.



answers from Boston on

i am in the exact same situation - my daughter has been bitten at daycare 2x in the last 2 days by the same child. i have told my daughter not play with her today - we'll see if that works - though i don't think she'll remember and they like playing together. like you i cannot blame her mother nor can i expect her to have any idea how to resolve the issue - i wouldn't know what to do if my kid was doing the biting. but i do think the teachers have a responsibility to watch the biter a little bit more carefully throughout the day - one should stay close to her at all times. i suggested that. we'll see what has occurred when i pick her up today. don't change providers - "this too shall pass".

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