The school strives to achieve a peanut-free school environment. An allergy list is posted in each classroom so that all adults are aware of any allergies a child may have. All snacks provided by the school are peanut free. Parents are also asked to provide peanut free snack for their kids at school during birthdays or holiday parties. Lastly, we hope to further limit peanut exposure through regular cleaning of the classroom areas and hand washing by students, parents, and others coming into the classroom at the start of each class.
|So Why do Children Bite?
Not all toddlers bite other children. Sometimes a toddler classroom will go months and months without a biting incident and then suddenly there is a “rash” of biting. None of them the fault of a bad home, bad parents, or bad teachers. Sometimes we think we have a good idea what’s causing the biting but most of the time it’s hard to know what’s going on in our little ones’ minds. Here are some of the reasons young children may bite:
Teething: When children are teething applying pressure to the gums is comforting and babies will use anything available to bite. Since there are so many things to chew on, teething is probably not the only reason toddler bite other children.
Sensory Exploration: Toddlers are very efficient at using all of their senses to learn all about the world, they bite everything not just their friends. The “oral mode”, an important style of learning in infancy, is still very strong in toddlers. Both the sense of taste and the sense of touch are rewarded through biting. It feels good to bite! Skin is warm and soft to the touch, and has a pleasant salty taste. Much to the horror of staff and parents.
Make an impact/ Get attention: Young children like to make things happen, and the reaction to the victim and biter produces a predictable response. There is a magnificent noise; everything in the room comes to a stop. The adult in the room is sure to appear instantly. The biter will still receive attention whether it’s negative or positive.
Mimicking: Children learn other behaviors from other children, just like cup banging, waving bye-bye, etc. This may be why after a long “biteless” period we suddenly experience a bunch of biters!
Self-assersion: This is probably the most common reason toddlers bite. It’s a way to express frustration when they don’t yet have the language skills to do so. Biting, a child learns, is the quickest most efficient way to register a protest.
What we do to prevent or reduce the number of biting?We do our best to avoid any immediate response that reinforces the biting, including dramatic negative attention. The biter is immediately removed with no emotion. We calmly, but in a strict tone use the following statements, “We use our teeth for food” “Biting hurts our friends” The caring attention is focused on the victim.
The biter is not allowed to return to the play area immediately, often times redirected to another area of the room; and provide extra supervision until they are settled.
Parents often tell staff to bite the child back. Although this may convey the message that biting causes pain, it is a remedy that absolutely cannot be condoned. The real message is that it’s okay for adults to hurt people but not for children.We organize the teaching team so one person’s function for a given period is to handle “custodial” matters, diapering, etc. leaving the other staff free to be the “play person”, directly involved with the children.
We work with each biting child on resolving conflict and or frustration in an appropriate manner. We notice and reinforce with positive praise when a child is having a good day/ making good decisions.
We work with parents to understand the child’s stresses and ask how we can partner to help the child through their biting phase.
We “shadow” the biter- trying to anticipate biting situations.
What we do about the chronic biter?If we’ve tried everything, conferred with the parent and used all the approaches we can
think of, it’s usually time for us to admit that group care is not the right place for your child at this time. This doesn’t mean your child is bad or a monster! It is a phase that some children go through and all eventually outgrow. But we realize that sometimes it may be necessary for the parent to try the child in our program in another three months or so.