3 yo biting at daycare... help! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 03-10-2010, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
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My 3 year old has been biting kids at his daycare and I've actually had to go and pick him up early because of it. They've now given him a warning and if he doesn't stop he will be kicked out. The hard part about it is that he never bites at home and has never behaved like this before so I don't know what to do about it. It is hard to dicipline him when I'm not there when it happens. They can't even tell me what provokes him, with 15 other kids they aren't really sure. Any ideas? I have tried talking to him about it and I've tried taking things away from him that he likes, but I'm not sure he's making the connection since this all happens after he gets home for the day. Please help!
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#2 of 8 Old 03-10-2010, 07:48 PM
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Hello, I'm delurking after forever to respond to this, so I hope I do it right!

I am a preschool teacher and also worked in a childcare setting and I think honestly you need to ask THEM what THEY are doing about it. I know it's frustrating for teachers and other parents to have a child who bites, especially beyond the age of 2. But since he is a bit older and it's not just about exploring the world orally like say, a toddler would, there is something else going on. You are not there to see it, but they are. It makes me sad when kids get dismissed for this kind of thing especially if nothing preventative is being done about it. As his teachers, they should definitely have an idea as to what is provoking it. Ask them to log each and every time it happens: what the situation was, how many kids were around, what time of day, if it was a transition period, his mood before and after, etc. All of those things can then show them what times of the day/activities/situations that are stressing him out and if he is overwhelmed. This makes it easier for them to give him more attention during those times. Is it because too many kids are around? Then they need to pull him from the group when he is overwhelmed and have him do a quieter activity. Is it a transition period? Then hold his hand and take him to the next area. Things like that will GREATLY reduce the numbers of time he bites. We have a no dismissal policy for biting at our school but we are SO attentive to the kids who bite that it truly becomes far less of an issue.

What you said is true, you're not there for the immediate action, so honestly other than talking to him about feelings/what to do when upset, etc, there's not much else in your power that will change it. If they are unwilling to keep a log, I'd honestly find another school who would be better willing to work with him. Sorry, I know that's not ideal. I just don't think it's fair to kids who do age appropriate things to not work with them first before just letting them go! It sounds like they just don't want to deal with it so maybe another school would be a better fit for him.
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#3 of 8 Old 03-12-2010, 04:41 PM
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That was a great reply. I also had this problem with my son. In his case, some of it was due to his sensory processing problems, and they were able to anticipate it happening in certain settings and situations (lots of kids together in the gym for example), and during circle time his seat was next to a teacher or aide, and that helped a lot. He was also given something that he could bite, or squeeze, when he felt angry or overwhelmed.
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#4 of 8 Old 03-12-2010, 05:17 PM
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My oldest DD started biting at that age too (maybe just a tad younger, I don't remember exactly) and I was just as baffled as you are. Oddly enough, she only bit her cousin, who is about 16mos older than she is. This all started happening while my brother, SIL, and nephew were visiting us from out-of-state and staying with us. We just couldn't keep them that far apart in our little apartment. Turns out, my nephew was doing little subtle things to her to provoke her. If she was sitting on the floor coloring, he would walk by and deliberately and carefully step on her hand. That did NOT make it okay for her to bite him, but it really helped in resolving the issue that there was a reason that she thought she had to resort to biting, etc. The teachers really need to see what is provoking your DS, that's their job. If they can't keep track of all the kids, they need more teachers or fewer students. Your DS obviously feels the need to defend himself, or something is upsetting him, and they need to find out why.

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#5 of 8 Old 03-12-2010, 05:35 PM
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It may be a personal space thing, or sensory overload. At three, he probably won't be able to calm down and find his own space -- still too little for that. I agree with SuchThingsToBe, if his teachers are unwilling to help, find a new school. Perhaps a home-daycare with less children might be a better situation?

(I used to work in daycare, but we never kicked anyone out for biting! In fact, our boss told us *not* to tell parents if their children were biting, Idk why (that was with the chronic offenders)--it's not like we had anything to do with the biting, in fact we tried to stop it, but our biter bit because of stress at home so there was nothing we could do.)

Mom to two fabulous boys! Ds1 (9 yrs) & ds2 (7 yrs)
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#6 of 8 Old 03-12-2010, 05:57 PM
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DS was biting people around 3, too, and I was at my wits end, honestly. Then out of the blue we watched this episode of Yo gabba gabba:


For some reason this song really helped when he was overwhelmed and needed to bite or hit something, he'd sing the song and then bite a stuffed animal or something not alive instead. We'd sing it in the car to remind him on the way to his cousins or to play group, and pre-school...we haven't heard of him biting since.

Maybe it will work with you LO, too.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#7 of 8 Old 03-12-2010, 06:18 PM
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I would request a meeting with the Director to discuss the biting. Do some google searches on biting and day care so you understand the situation. I think like 1 in 3 kids in day care bites. You might also search the archives here because this has come up before.

How many teachers do they have with these 15 children? That sounds like a lot. We had no more than 12 and 2 teachers at that age. My day care was able to identify what prompted the biting and they staffed an extra floater at that time to keep an extra eye on the kid-kid interactions.

I agree that the day care should be doing more to work with this problem. There is very little YOU can do with a 3 yo hours later.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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#8 of 8 Old 03-12-2010, 07:16 PM
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Believe it or not, Gabba Gabba saved us from having to deal with this. My daughter sings that song all the time.

Aileen, Mama to Hannah James, 4/01/07 Smartest kid I've ever known! And Gabriel Joseph, born at home 3-31-10!! Delaying and selectively vax'ing
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