Stop a Child from Biting

How to Stop a Child from Biting at Daycare

May 14, 2024
How to Stop a Child from Biting at Daycare

There are a few examples of child behaviors that are clearly undesirable in any setting, and a biting habit is high up on any such list. Biting in a daycare or other childcare setting can be especially concerning, and many parents and other caregivers wonder how to stop a child from biting at daycare.

At First Steps Childcare & Preschool, we're proud to offer a wide range of infant and toddler daycare, preschool and other childcare services to families around Salt Lake City. We've helped many kids and parents identify a biting issue at daycare and manage it using healthy practices, and are well-versed in the proper approaches here. Here are some basics on why biting habits sometimes develop in children, what to do if you begin noticing it, and some ways of discouraging future biting in daycare or any other setting.

Possible Causes of Child Biting Habits

There are a few potential causes of biting habits developing in children, and sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact reason. Here are a few common causes that may contribute to a child's biting behavior:

  • Exploring the world: Babies and toddlers often use their mouths as a way of exploring the world around them. They may not yet have developed proper hand-eye coordination, so they may resort to using their mouths to touch and feel objects.
  • Teething: When a child is teething, they may experience discomfort or pain in their gums. This can lead them to bite as a way of relieving this discomfort.
  • Attention-seeking: Some children may bite as a way of getting attention from adults or other children in the daycare setting. They may have learned that biting gets a reaction from others, even if it's a negative one.
  • Frustration or anger: Children who do not yet have the vocabulary to express their emotions may resort to biting when they are feeling frustrated or angry. This can be especially common in toddlers who are still learning how to communicate effectively.
  • Struggle with routine: Changes in routine, such as starting daycare or transitioning to a new classroom, can be difficult for children to adjust to. This may lead to feelings of stress or anxiety, which can manifest as biting behavior.

Observing and Noting the Behavior

Initially, it's important for parents and caregivers to observe and note the biting behavior. This will help them understand when, where, and why the child is biting. Some helpful information to note includes:

  • Time of day: Is the child more likely to bite during certain times of the day? Are they tired or hungry?
  • Triggers: What seems to trigger the biting behavior? Is it during playtime or when the child is upset?
  • Targets: Who does the child tend to bite? Other children, adults, or themselves?

By keeping track of these patterns, parents and caregivers can better understand the underlying reasons for the biting behavior.

Managing Biting Behavior

When dealing with biting behavior in a daycare setting, it's important for caregivers and parents to remain calm and consistent in their approach. Some helpful tactics for managing biting behavior include:

  • Keep consistent routines: As we noted above, changes in routine can be difficult for children. By keeping a consistent schedule, parents and caregivers can help reduce stress and anxiety in the child.
  • Supervise closely: If a biting issue has been identified, it's important for caregivers to keep a close eye on the child and intervene before biting occurs.
  • Teach alternative behaviors: Encourage children to use words or other forms of communication when they are feeling frustrated or upset instead of resorting to biting.
  • Use positive reinforcement: When a child displays good behavior, be sure to praise them and provide positive reinforcement. This can help encourage them to continue exhibiting this behavior instead of biting.
  • Maintain patience and consistency: It's important to remember that breaking a biting habit takes time and patience. Be consistent with your approach, and continue reinforcing positive behaviors.
  • Keep multiple toys available: In some cases, biting may be a result of boredom or frustration. In others, it can be because they want a particular toy that another child has. By keeping multiple toys available, this can help prevent conflicts and reduce the likelihood of biting.

Biting behavior is a common issue that many children may exhibit at some point in their development. By understanding potential causes and implementing effective strategies for managing and discouraging this behavior, parents and caregivers can help their child develop healthier habits.

At First Steps Childcare & Preschool, we pride ourselves on providing a safe and nurturing environment for children to learn and grow. Our experienced staff is trained in managing and addressing challenging behaviors in a positive manner, including biting. If you have any concerns about your child's biting behavior or would like more information about our childcare services for families around SLC, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

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