Biting at Daycares

Updated on April 04, 2012
J.C. asks from Belton, MO
13 answers

Hi mamas! I have a question.. I just got a call from my daughters daycare that she got bit AGAIN! She just got bit probably 3 weeks ago and once before but I can't remember a date on the first one. How often does biting happen? She's 20 months old.. plus she got pushed last week and fell and hit her eye on the corner of a table and still has a shiner from it. I"m so angry.. in their daycare they have 8 toddlers (supposed to be from 12-18 months in that room).. she moved over late from the infant room which is why they are still in there.. and when one of the ladies called me today she mentioned that she should be moved over in a couple of months?!?! I dont know, what have you guys experienced? I need to know if this is out of line and i should move my daughter to a different one... thanks :)

P.S. Sorry if i rambled i'm still very upset...

EDIT: They have 8 toddlers with two teachers in the room.. last week I was up there and they were outside playing.. so i went outside to play with my daughter. There were a group of kids on the other side of a bigger toy outside and they were all pushing each other.. teachers NEVER found them... hmmm

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for your great advice.. I read and considered it all :) I am still working with the daycare on at least showing sincerity to me (which they aren't horribly great at), and made sure they knew i wasn't happy with the way things were handled. SHould be hopefully resolved in the next week :)

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answers from Dallas on

When my daughter was this age she was bitten by the same child everyday for about 3 or 4 days in a row then it stopped. This is perfectly normal but the key is to keep them separated until the biting stops. There always seems to be at least one biter in every class at this age.

ETA: I would be more upset if it was my child who was doing the biting.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Boston on

Biting happens at that age and some kids are biters and some are not. Both my kids have been bitten and they didnt go to daycare. It just happens. Also it is not the teachers fault (most of the time). I use to work in a toddler room and we had a biter so 1 teacher would follow that child around to prevent the bitting well even when you are beside that child you could stop to tie another childs shoe and that is when the one that bites happens to get mad and bites. I really just happens at this age.

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answers from Chicago on

No parent wants their child to get hurt but especially at your childs age biting is COMMON. My daughter is 27 months - has gotten bit a number of times and, unfortunately, has been the biter a number of times. My son, who is 5, was never a biter and I think he was only bit twice when he was in the toddler classrooms.
I am sorry if this sounds harsh or if you get mad for me saying it - I think you are overreacting to a common phase. The only way you can ensure she doesn't get bit - take her out of daycare and don't let her be around kids that age.......

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lincoln on

well unfortunately biting is normal for little kiddos. my son was a biter at his daycare and i felt bad, but it happens. i think i would be more concerned about the ratio of teachers vs kids. have you ever tried in home daycare?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It is normal at this age. My son was on both sides. He got in trouble a lot for bighting. We did learn that there was another kid bitting him and then he would bight someone else it was just a terrible cycle. With my son if they would have let him keep his passy they would not have had the problems. But they said he was too old for it so they would take it and he would bight. I would talk to the teachers and see what was going on around the time she was bit. And you don't know whe may be biting too. But it is a phase. That most kids go through.

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answers from New York on

What's the staff ratio there? That is, how may daycare workers per toddler? It sounds like they could be spread a little thin, which means it might make sense to look elsewhere. In my experience with my son, care environments vary A LOT, and it really makes sense to do your homework: ask around, observe the spaces, etc. You may have to pay more for a better center, but it may also be money well spent.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Davenport on

It is completely normal. My son would bite and get bitten often. We were literally getting letters almost every other day of him either bitting someone or getting bit by someone. It's there way of showing their frustrations since they can't yet verbalize it. All the kids eventually grew out of it.

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answers from Kansas City on

It is tough when you are not with your child and they are being hurt, but the pushing and biting are normal.

I would definately try to drop in (perhaps watch from a distance if the class is outside) a few times, because the supervison doesn't sound like it is the best. The child to adult ratio is really pretty good in your daughters' room. I would indicate to the director that you do not want your child moved to a classroom with older children any time soon because she is not at a stage yet where she is asserting herself.

Let the director and staff know you are paying close attention!!

The biting and pushing are normal, it is how they are handling supervision that I would question.

Good Luck,


1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

There is usually one biter in every class. We called ours the shark. I can look back and laugh now but at the time, with our firstborn nontheless, we were LIVID. School gave her things to chew on and worked with her, but she was just a biter. We were heartbroken every time our DD got sent home with a huge bite mark on her. We even (along with other parents, this kid bit EVERYONE) made the school do a write-up on how they were handling these situations. But, it passes. (Every once in a while our daughter got her back, though!). Now I stay at home with my toddler twins and my son is the biter. My poor youngest daughter is the bitee. I now know that even if you are standing right there there is not much you can do to prevent it.
So, do what you feel is the right thing, hopefully with the older kids you won't have the issue any more.



answers from Oklahoma City on

They actually have a smaller class. In Oklahoma it is 4 infants to one teacher and 6 toddlers, ages 12 months to 24 months to one teacher. So they are not as full as we would be.

Biting happens, it happens with the teacher standing right there, it happens when they are playing side by side, it happens at nap time when they are trying to lay down, it happens at meal time, etc....I think there are actually weeks at a time that someone gets bit every day. I do not work the toddler room, I like my kids school age. They can entertain themselves very well.

This is normal behavior for toddlers and even all the way up to the 3 yr. old classroom. It will be the same at every child care setting. This is a totally normal behavior. They can only address it by helping the biter to have more chew time and some other intervention style actions. It may not even help.

Every had a toothache? Did it feel good to bite down on something and just wriggle that tooth around sometimes? Ever been so frustrated you could feel your jaw hurting from gritting your teeth? Somewhere back there you had those same feelings and biting was perhaps your way of acting out those feelings. You grew out of that stage or learned a different way to deal with it. The child care workers might be working with this child every day. The only thing you can do is understand they are most likely trying to keep it from happening. It will happen again though. When one starts another will start. It is a normal behavior.

As for the other concerns you can always call the local licensing agency and report what you saw. That way they can observe the kids outside and see how the teachers interact with the kids and perhaps have the director work with the teachers on watching those older kids more closely.


And FYI, moms, the state regulates when a child moves up, the director or staff have no say in it whatsoever. If they have a birthday they are that age group. For example, a 2 yr. old that turns 3 that day is now a 3 yr. old and must move to the 3 yr. old classroom to keep staff ratio's correct.

I had a fellow director who had a little girl who the mom refused to allow them to move her up. The licensing inspector came that afternoon, it was her birthday that day, and when she was checking ages and ratio's she made the staff pick up the cot and take the sleeping child and her belongings to the next classroom up. She told them they knew better and she gave them an infraction.

The state dictates the ages in the classroom and the ratio's. Not the child care business.

On page 15 it states the regulations regarding staff ratio's. On page 57 there is a ratio chart.



answers from Portland on

I can't tell you exactly what to do, other than to go with your gut. When I had a toddler group, we occasionally had bites, and when we could see that a child was getting into a habit of biting, we'd keep a close eye out, offer teethers and toys appropriate for mouthing/chewing on.

Outside, I was always clear with my team about establishing sightlines, so that environments/play equipment was positioned in the most accessible ways possible, and I taught the teachers to position themselves so that they had a clear view of the area. Walking around a lot also ensured that kids in little spaces (under a platform under the play structure) were in view.

You have to decide how you feel about your daughter's care. Are the teachers warm, approachable? Does your daughter seem comfortable when you leave? It sounds like they have been good about communication, calling you ahead of time so that you wouldn't be surprised by the bite marks. Did they do the proper first aid for a bite like this? (wash/disinfect and ice pack, and LOTS of cuddles)

Besides the pushing incident, do you feel that other misbehaviors are caught pretty quickly and redirected, and that the children are receiving the appropriate amount of guidance? Does the toddler room feel comfortable, with enough toys to go around (it's not appropriate to expect children at this age to share-- they are just learning taking turns at 2.5-3 years old) and enough options for the children to play in a variety of ways? These are some things I would consider in making my decision.

I understand your frustration with your daughter not moving up to her peer group. This does happen from time to time (it did with my group). I think you have to decide as a whole if it's worth staying and sticking it out or doing the work of transitioning your daughter to a new school, which it might be. I don't know what your options are and what's available in your area.

Good luck.


answers from New York on

UGH. So sorry! I don't have good advice. Do you have some other childcare option for your daughter?

I hate biting!!



answers from Champaign on

Unfortunately, that's the age for biting. My son wasn't a biter, but he did have several accident reports from the toddler room (15 - 24 mos), and even came home with bruise marks one time. It never seems to phase him much - and he never started to bite in return (thank goodness). Some daycare centers have rules about how often and if it doens't get better - they can be asked to leave. I would question if it's one kid or several.

As far as pushing, that's typical too. You don't want to see them get hurt - but when you have 8 - 10 kids all trying to play with the biggest toy - there's going to be pushing.

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