It is the end of September in my two year old classroom. Everything is going along wonderfully. All the children have successfully separated from their parents. Children are at free play and I am thinking all is well, and then I hear Dadop, Dadop Dadop, Dadop, Dadop. In case you don’t recognize this tune, it is the theme song from “Jaws”. As you well know teachers have eyes and ears in the back of their heads, they often have a second sense about things. I turn around just in time to see ‘Jaws’ go for his pound of flesh. Can I tell you this is a teacher’s nightmare. It is not an easy habit to break. Know that biting is not planned, it is spontaneous and sometimes there may be no reason behind the action, it is just the way a child experiences the world and chooses to express themself.
At one of my Mommy and Me classes a mother was holding her child, another child bit her little girl’s leg. The mother of the biter was mortified and the mother of the child that had been bitten went nuts. She threatened to sue the school and accused the school of traumatizing her child. Believe it or not this over reaction is more often than not the reaction of the injured child’s parent. I have to tell you the parent of the child that is doing the biting is equally upset.
So let’s look at some of the reasons children bite
- They may be teething.
- Lack of language to express what they want, or what they are feeling.
- To gain power and attention.
- To defend themselves or what they might think belongs to them, two year old’s think everything belongs to them.
- It is there way to experience the world.
What to do?
- Do not over react.
- Try to anticipate the bite before it happens, you may need to shadow the child.
- Use language that is to the point, ” Biting hurts, you really hurt your friend”.
- Encourage the child to apol0gize for his action.
- Appear to give all your attention to the child that was hurt.
- Some teachers give children a carrot to bite or a teething ring, I am not a fan.
- Give your child language to learn to express how they are feeling.
- Be consistent and stick with it.
Are there Vampires among you? Share your stories.