Friday, January 7, 2011

Taking a bite out of your day!

A great book for teaching children about biting

No Biting!

Karen Katz

As many many childcare givers, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends know children of many ages tend to bite.  No not all children do and some are only once while others go through a full phase of it as they grow up.  I have been lucky and never really had to deal with a biting child, at least not for long.  My own son started biting at daycare one day and we were able to stop it right there and then, thank goodness.  On the other hand, now with owning my own daycare I have to learn to deal with this experience more often.  Everyone has there own way of dealing with biting but at the same time, many children just continue biting more matter what happens to them after they have bit someone. 

Through research, I have learned that "most" children bite for a reason.  Whether that reason be frustration, anger, a way to communicate with others, hunger, tiredness.... there are a number of triggers that can lead to a child biting someone.  May child care facilities will have a shadow for the bitter if its something that they can't seem to keep under control.  This shadow is an adult that will more aless follow that single child around all day and watch their reactions and try to find out the trigger for them biting, and hopefully catch them in the early part of the act and stop it then.  As many people own their own in home daycare, one can't always to that, especially if you are the only adult around, with many other children to look after, take care, and comfort.

Biting doesn't only harm the victim but also the predator and even the other children around who witness the act.  As a victim biting usually causes pain, marking, sometimes even the breakage of skin. This child will usually shy away from the biter and even keep to themselves after a while, due to the fact they are scared it will happen to them again.  As a predator (the biter), the issue is that they don't know how to show their emotions in the right matter most of the time.  They get punished for biting, yet the reason they were biting has usually not been dealt with either, because the adult hasn't realized that something needs to be done, besides the punishment.  For the other children that have witnessed the situation, they can be traumatized.  They are scared to play with the predator in case they are the next victim.  No child wants to be bit or hurt and many realize whats going on if they are old enough and will try to keep their distance from trouble that might arise again.

To deal with a biting child many people have taken different steps to stop the situation from happening again.  I have heard of people trying the following situations:
  • taking a favorite toy away
  • time outs
  • isolation of the bitter
  • spanking (if you are one whom still believes in this.  Many consider spanking as child abuse)
  • biting back
  • soap on the lips (I discourage this if possible)
  • hot sauce on the lips (I discourage this if possible)
If you have a young toddler just starting to bite please try the following before you go into anything drastic with punishment.  If its a first time situation of biting, that child might learn from you talking to them and explaining what has gone on and why its wrong.

    1) Firmly say "No bite!" and remove the biting child offender from the situation. 2) Administer an appropriate consequence such as removal of the toy or a time-out for a biting child. 3) Lavish positive attention on the bitten toddler. 4) Use distraction between young kids and watch their interaction closely to avoid placing youngsters--especially one to be known to be a biting child--in a conflict situation. 5) Resist the temptation to bite a biting child back as a way to "show them" their wrongs. Use a positive approach instead. You don't want your toddler telling his teacher that he bites because that's what his parents do!
If you have a child that continues to bite even after explaining what has happened, you might need to take a more stronger approach on the situation to have them stop the biting.  By any means don't go right to the harshest punishment right off the start.  I know its hard to deal with but that biting child is usually tyring to show emotions and just don't know how.  Remember you have to also teach young ones how to tell you or anyone they are angry, hungry, tired, or what ever might be the problem with them. 

Now with the odd ball child that bites for no reason!  You have study the bitter for many, many days, even weeks and just can't seem to find their triggers as to why they bite?!?!  They don't seem to understand biting hurts, they don't stop after you have taken on stronger punishments for them.  What to do?  This is where I need the advice too.  My fellow readers, if you have any idea what to do please let me know!  I am at lost for further information on this part of the subject. 

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