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  • Biting! Yikes!!

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    Old 09-09-2008, 03:48 PM   #1
    youneeak
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    Biting! Yikes!!

    Hi everyone,

    I have a 14 month old DD who has recently started biting at daycare. I have never seen her bite anybody. She's never bitten anybody anywhere but daycare. We spend a LOT of time around other kids. I have a few really good friends who have kids that are between 9months and 20 months so she sees them frequently...and she's been in daycare since she was 2 months old. We've never had a problem with her being too agressive or biting, and just last week they said she's trying to bite up to 11 times a day. I keep trying to ask them about the situations that are leading up to the biting (because from the notes I'm getting it's just out of the blue. It's not like another child takes a toy or something...she just walks over and tries to bite another kid for apparently no reason). The daycare doesn't seem to be too concerned about WHAT IS MAKING her bite...just the fact that she's biting...my concern is that there has to be something she's trying to communicate because she's never bitten in any other situation.

    Anyway- so my question is...is there anything I can do or suggest to the daycare about the biting? She's in a child care setting, so she's with other children who are 10-19 months old. Right now they are telling her that teeth are for "eating food" and putting her in the high chair. I ask if they give her food when they put her in the high chair and they said no because they don't want it to be a "reward" for biting. (which I totally agree with) But I dont' want the high chair to become a time out place either. I have enough trouble getting her to eat (another problem entirely) that I don't want her to think she's being "punished" when she's in the high chair. She's 14 months old so I cannot reason with her...I've dealt with this problem and know how to handle it with a 2.5-4 year old...but how do I deal with a 14 month old?

    Any suggestions?
    Sarah

     
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    Old 09-09-2008, 04:39 PM   #2
    LauraLu
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    Re: Biting! Yikes!!

    Wow, Sarah, personally, I think I would be pretty ticked off if my daycare provider provided me with only that message. I would suggest having them write out detailed notes. Have one of the day care providers follow her for 1/2 an hour or so. Catch Ella in the act so to speak. WRITE IT DOWN. I would want specifics. Saying the biting is "out of the blue" just wouldn't fly with me because you know it doesn't happen that way at home. For every behavior there is something behind it - even at this age. Something must have provoked it.
    If she is teething, putting her in a high chair with no food is NOT going to teach her ANYTHING. Giving her a teething toy, however, will show her what she can bite. Why can't they try a gentle "No bite," and distract her with something she can bite? Doesn't this make more sense than a high chair with no food? A 14 month old cannot possible comprehend this kind of reprimand, especially if she's not being given something TO bite.
    I'm sorry to get so dramatic, but I would be personally very upset, and ask to speak with a manager.
    How do you feel about this kind of approach?
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    Old 09-09-2008, 04:55 PM   #3
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    Re: Biting! Yikes!!

    Hey LauraLu-

    I am very upset about this situation. The first time they told me it happened, I questioned it. DD is very affectionate and when she "kisses" it truly does look like she's goign to bite...her mouth is open and her teeth are out, but she just spits her slobber all over you and goes along her merry way. She's never bitten anybody outside of daycare, and this has just started the last couple of days. I think the daycare people took me suggesting that she was "kissing" as meaning that I wasn't willing to work with them or that I didn't believe them, and that wasn't my intent at all, I was just taken aback that they said, "Oh by the way, she tried to bite 11 times yesterday" that just threw me...because she's never done it before...

    I haven't gotten to talk to her teachers about it yet because they leave at 4 and the last couple of days I've had meetings after work and haven't gotten there until 4:30 so the "evening" daycare peopel are there only giving me the notes that they have written. I'm planning to meet with them in the morning, but I wanted to go to the meeting with an open mind and some suggestions because I am quite upset by it (especially when at the end of the day the only notes I have on her from the 8-9 hours she was there were how many times she bit today). I feel frustrated and upset.

    If she is biting (with the intent on biting...not if she's in pain from teething, etc.) then I don't mind them removing her from the situation. I just don't know if the high chair is the best place for that because she'll be expecting food...and I think it's just mean to withold food from a 14 month old. If they put her in her crib or if she sat with a teacher in the corner for a minute I don't have a problem with that...but a removal from the situation should only occur if she is INTENDING to bite a child to HURT them. I just can't imagine her doing that (although I am open to the possibility that it's happening, I've never seen it happen anywhere else).

    At this point I'm just totally lost on what to do next....maybe daycare will have some suggestions in the morning...I don't want daycare to think I'm saying "My child would never bite" but at the same time, I don't know how to solve the problem because I've never had the problem at home.

    Also- I agree with you with the behavior having a purpose or communicating something! I tell my teaching assistants and my students' parents that ALL the time. And I completely agree with giving her something she CAN bite. I have a few biters in my room (preschool special needs) and we give them a "chewy tube" (it's an device designed with chewing with teeth) and say "you can bite this." and then give them a way to communicate beyond biting (pictures, sign language, etc.)

    Sarah

    Last edited by youneeak; 09-09-2008 at 04:59 PM.

     
    Old 09-09-2008, 05:42 PM   #4
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    Re: Biting! Yikes!!

    Well I think it's great that you are going in with an open mind. I think going in first thing in the morning with a clear head is always better than just receiving some notes from evening people who don't really know her.

    I totally agree that going in with a solution (even if you don't necessarily even think there's a problem!) is a wonderful thing as well. Distraction works best at this age. She's not going to understand the high chair. If anything, it will only confuse her. I'd put my foot down on that one.

    By the way, Madeline does the same "kiss" to people and it does look like biting at times. Whenever she says it, we have always said,"Ahhh, nice kiss! Love you!" and we pat her face. Now when she "kisses" us, she says, "Ahhh!" and she pats our face. That way people know she's kissing. It's funny. Maybe try something like that?

    Good luck tomorrow!!! Let us know how it goes!
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    Last edited by LauraLu; 09-09-2008 at 05:43 PM.

     
    Old 09-10-2008, 04:52 AM   #5
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    Re: Biting! Yikes!!

    Sarah,
    Hey, I was just reading and wanted to suggest this as well. I am totally not saying that Ella is biting to be mean. I of course don't know, and from what you are saying, it does seem out of character for her. However, my Ella over the past two weeks or so has just starting pinching me for no reason. She will just walk up, grab my arm with her two fingers and pinch really hard. When I tell her no, that hurts mommy, she just looks at me and acts as though she doesn't get it. My take on this is that she is trying to see what sort of a reaction she is going to get. She doesn't do this to anyone else, DH, my MIL who watches her, etc. It's just me??? Each time she does it, I tell her no, that hurts mommy and quickly remove her hand from my arm. Sometimes she will do it again right away, others she will stop as if she gets what I am saying. I don't know. It's confusing to me because she is so sweet and doesn't seem to have a mean bone in her body. But I don't think she is doing this to be mean, not intentionally. I think she is just at a point right now where she is doing things for reactionary purposes. Anyhow, it was just a thought. I also disagree with the whole high chair thing. What does a high chair with no food teach a child about not biting other children? That whole idea doesn't hold much logic if you ask me? Let us know how it goes, hopefully you'll get something figured out!
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    Old 09-10-2008, 09:38 AM   #6
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    Re: Biting! Yikes!!

    DS went through a biting phase for a week or so, to which I was mortified. I think it's mainly a curiousity type thing, not done out of spite. And there's usually a warning. My son announced he was going to bite and grabbed another child's arm. At this age they have a difficult time understanding that they're causing someone any pain. Another time my child was on the potty chair, bounced across the room and bit one of his daycare friends.

    At the time I was both mortified -- hoping none of the parents knew it was MY child who bit theirs --- and frustrated. He goes to a daycare center and I believe it was more of an issue with younger caregivers not knowing the signs and being able draw the child's attention away from the other child.

     
    Old 09-10-2008, 08:12 PM   #7
    Hope2Heal
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    Re: Biting! Yikes!!

    Hello

    well I have to say from working in daycare for many years, this is the worst possilbe age for kids in daycare. My experience is that many kids who otheriwise did fine as infants suddenly begin to have trouble in the toddler class. I pulled my own son out of daycare at 14 months old (he was in since 3.5 months) because he was getting bitten almost every day (broke the skin a few times) and broke my heart. I now stay home with him and have made multiple sacrifices to do so. He is doing so well now and just turned two.

    Look, let me give you some inside info on toddler classes. No matter how nice, trained or wonderful the teachers are, the ratios are too high, (could YOU handle 6 one year olds by yourself?) If the ratio is 1:6 then you could have 6, 12 or 18 toddlers in one room. The most toddlers I ever had were 21 2 year olds with 2 teachers.

    No matter what, the supervision is not going to be there. Kids this age really need a 1:2 ratio in my opinion. They are very active, no sense of danger, impulsive and don't understand sharing or other basic social skills.

    The toddler room can be a dangerous place and a highly stressful place. It is noisy all day long, there is minimal one on one attention, high turnover of staff, untrained people who get put in there as subs, the room most lunlikely to recieve extra materials and toys, the room most unlikely to ever follow the posted lesson plan, the room most likely to have all lesson activities disrupted due to behavior, tantrums, sick kids, constant diaper changing.

    There are never enough hands to do what needs to be done with this many kids at this age.

    That being said, your child is now developing a reputation. She is the "biter" and is probably not being viewed positively by others. This is also not good for your child. The fact that they say it is out of the blue means they didn't see or pay attention to what happened before hand. Your child could be biting for different reasons every time, general stress, teething, excitement, not sure how to get other kids attention but wanting them to notice her, anger at another kid taking a toy, defending herself, just likes the way skin feels as she chomps on it, likes to see everyone's reaction . Also, parents who have biter kids tend to start being viewed negatively too, as if you are the one causing your child to bite. More likely it is the environment the child is in that is the cause.

    You may want to consider a different type of environment for childcare for the next few years, such as home, nanny, or small in home daycare.

    If you are not able or are unwilling to do this, then I would suggest taking a day off from work and spending it observing the child from an outside monitor or watch discreetly from a window where your child can't see you. Observe the classroom activities and you child. She may not bite that day but you may notice little things, such as a certain kid who picks on her a lot, takes her toys, how much or how little attention and stimulation she is getting etc.
    Judge for yourself by the end of the day if it is the best place for your child.

    Also ask your pediatrician for advice.

    Personally from what I have witnessed around the country in many different daycares since 1992, I am glad my son is home with me right now and absoltely will not put him back in a daycare setting until he is of preschool age, talking well, potty trained and in a group of children who are better occupied and more independent.

    Good luck with this situation, but I can promise you it will not just go away on its own.
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    Old 09-11-2008, 03:49 AM   #8
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    Re: Biting! Yikes!!

    Thank you everyone for your responses. I spoke with the teachers yesterday and they were wonderfully helpful and we are working to get this figured out.

    Hope2Heal- unfortunately, with me as with many moms these days, it is not an option for me to stay home with my child and I live a long distance from my family and all of my friends here work as well, and I'm just not comfortable leaving my child in an in-home daycare setting without having somebody around who could "check up" on them from time to time. A good friend of mine had an experience with an in-home daycare that ended very badly and it is my choice to leave my daughter where there are a lot of people in and out all day (some of my good friends have kids there so they pop in and out to check on her and let me know if there's anything that should concern me). I'm sorry your child was the bitee, I have been in that situation as well, at the end of her time in the other room at daycare there was an 11month old who was a biter and they got my daughter a time or two and also on playdates my daughter has been bitten a time or two...I would NEVER blame the parents of an 11, 12, 13, 14...month old...and for other people who do that is their right and I cannot control what they think.

     
    Old 09-11-2008, 07:19 AM   #9
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    Re: Biting! Yikes!!

    hello again

    well I am glad the school is willing to work with you and do hope a solution for the problem is found.

    Just a side note: I cannot afford to stay home either. We do nothing, share a car, eat at home, don't use babysitters, husband works overnights so he can watch the baby while i go to school/student teach, food shop at walmart, don't have cable TV, no health insurance, (baby gets medicaid) or long distance phone, never buy anything but necessities and even then. . .

    Oh and I also live long distance from my family about 800 miles away and me and my husband do everything ourselves with no help whatsovever.

    My goal is to be finished with school in 2 years, graduate and ready to start full time work with a much better paying job by the time my son starts K.

    I never thought I would be the stay at home type and loved my job. It hurt to give it up. However I save money by not working, such as clothes, shoes, gas, extra car, goiing out to lunch everyday, etc. And it is very rewarding, though sometimes boring, but I am glad to be doing it.

    In my state they have a free statewide public pre-k program so when my son is 4 he will qualify for that. Until then, I am keeping him here with me. I wish my school had been willing to work out the situation with us but they weren't. I thought it was a good school, but they told me I was just being too overprotective, needed to "let go", "trust the teachers" and accept that getting bitten was part of being a toddler. I just couldn't accept that answer. I lost my first son to stillbirth (full term) and am vey protective. As a school , they should have treated my concerns as a parent more serioiusly.

    Although not everyone has such a bad experinece with day care as I did, I still stand by what I said about toddler rooms. But then again, I have very high expectations for childcare. It sounds like you do too, as it seems you work with kids also?

    I agree that parents of the bitee should not be blamed, however unfortunately they are. I know what teachers say when parents aren't around and it isn't always nice. I was on the blame side too as my son's teachers didn'tl ike me becasue they thought I was too "involved" and didn't like me always checking up on him and didn't like that I was specific about what he ate/drank, etc. They viewed me a an annoying parent, but I didn't care, because it was my son's best interests that mattered in the end.

    My nephew was a biter and was kicked out of about 5 different daycare centers. My sister was blamed and at one center they let the kids beat up on my nephew without interveneing. Then told my sister, "I guess he's not such a big bully anymore!" He had cuts and bruises on his body and had to go to the ER. She called child services on that school. My nephew was eventually diagnosed with PDD and ADHD, but besides the biting had other very extreme behavior problems. No one sympathized with my sister and looked at her as if she was causing the problem. She was so upset. However in his case, he was also biting at home and across all environemnts.

    Just keep on them until the problem gets solved. Don't do anything you don't feel comfortable with, and try to stop in unnanounced often to check in on your child to see what is really going on.

    Good luck
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    Last edited by Hope2Heal; 09-11-2008 at 07:32 AM.

     
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