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Reality Bites (Frequently): Biting at the Center - Part 2

by Jim Greenman
January/February 1995
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/reality-bites-frequently-biting-at-the-center-part-2/5010165/

Knowing that infants and toddlers bite in group care is one thing. Doing anything about it is quite another. Even understanding why the biting is occurring doesn't necessarily lead to a "cure."

When a Child is Bitten

1. Avoid any immediate response that reinforces the biting, including dramatic negative attention. The biter is immediately removed with no emotion, using words such as "biting is not okay - biting hurts." The caring attention is focused on the victim.

The biter is not allowed to return to the play and is talked to on a level that she can understand. You communicate that you understand the child's frustration (or needs for exploration or teething relief with an infant) and are willing to help her achieve self-control: "When you feel like biting, use words," "I'll help you not bite." (Don't assert "I won't let you bite" unless you can deliver on that promise).

2. Redirect the child to other play.

3. Look intensively at the context of each biting incident and look for patterns based on past incidents. Was there crowding, overstimu-lation, too few toys, too much wait-ing, other frustration? Is the biting child getting enough attention, care, ...

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