Although it is not uncommon for very young children to bite, it is a behavior that is taken very seriously, and is strongly discouraged. Whenever a child is bitten, the teacher’s first task is to comfort the child. Next, the wound will be washed with anti-bacterial soap. If the bite has broken the skin, the parents will be contacted immediately. However, if the bite is superficial, and the child has returned to play, then both sets of parents will be advised of the incident at dismissal.
When a child under the age of 2 bites, it is generally for one of the following reasons:
In the instance of these youngest children, the teachers will try to determine which type of biting scenario has taken place. Then, they will closely monitor the situation, hoping to intercept the next “need to nip” – accompanied by a stern “NO”. If the biting becomes a chronic problem, then it may be necessary for the child to withdraw from the program for a month, in an attempt to break the biting cycle.
If this occurs, the parents may choose to pay for ½ month tuition to hold the spot in the class for a month, while they work on the problem at home. When the child returns after the month, if the biting is still an issue, the child will be withdrawn from the program for the remainder of the year.
When children are older than 24 months, biting is less common. Language is beginning to become the tool of choice, with “No!” and “Mine!” being used most frequently. These verbal warnings alert the teachers that it may be time to intervene, and redirect the playmates involved in another direction. When an older child bites, the preschool’s policy is: