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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

POTM: Biting Policy

The following is taken directly from our handbook. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

One of our most difficult jobs is informing parents that their child has been bitten. Unfortunately, biting does occasionally happen in any center. Here are a few reasons why: 
• Young children (under 30 months) do not have the language skills to express themselves. Biting is a form of non-verbal communication. It is like hitting or pushing. It is a way of saying no. Most biting stops by the age of three when children become able to verbalize their needs. 
• Young children often feel frustration because of their lack of vocabulary and motor skills. Biting is a way to get attention or release frustration. 
• Young children explore by putting things in their mouths. 
• Young children bite more when they are teething. 
• The discomfort of illness, particularly sinus or ear infections, can cause a child to want to bite on whatever is near. 

When a pattern of biting has been established by one child, we have several steps we take to minimize the occurrences: 
• We talk to the children to try to get them to verbalize their needs. For example, “Ted took your ball. Tell him, ‘My ball’”. 
• We try to have more than one of each toy so that children won’t have to compete for them. 
• We look for biting patterns. Teachers will document bites along with times, who they are biting, and events that preceded the bite to try to establish the bite triggers for that child. 
• We “shadow” the child. If a child has bitten more than twice, a teacher will shadow that child throughout the day. This means that the child will always be within arms reach of a teacher so that they can intercede if the child tries to bite again. 
• We communicate with parents to see if the behavior is happening at home, how it is handled at home, and if any changes have come about that may have triggered the biting. 

If a bite does occur, we comfort the child who has been bitten. We apply an ice pack to try to minimize swelling. If the bite broke the skin or it seems very bruised or large, we will notify the parents. We will only notify you of the situation-not the child who bit. Jellybean Daycare & Preschool will not expel young children for biting. Unfortunately, biting is developmentally appropriate for this age. It is our responsibility to break the cycle of biting and help children learn appropriate ways to communicate their needs. 

Biting in children older than 30 months will be handled as stated in the discipline policy.

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