Biting is fairly common when young children are developing and often causes concern for staff because of the effects it can have on the child that has been bitten but also the child that has done the biting, it can cause fear worry an upset for both parties. Biting is most common in children that are teething as biting down can ease the discomfort that they feel, but this should have passed by the time the children reach Preschool.
- As a child grows it can sometimes be difficult for them to understand that biting a person to explore the texture is not acceptable because previously while they were developing playing with toys (especially chew toys) this is acceptable. The Preschool need to support an guide a child through this process
- Children commonly do not recognise the difference between positive and negative attention, it still provides the same outcome – attention. Some children may use biting to gain attention because of the reaction they experience when they have bitten someone.
- If we are vigilant and supportive we would hope that this will prevent biting to occur, but we are not infallible so we would adhere to this biting policy.
- If a biting does occur it may be possible that the other children witness and mimic the behaviour, it’s the staff’s responsibility to take steps to prevent this.
- It is the staff’s duty to model the behaviour to the children and teach them that there are ways to express their feelings in an appropriate way such as using speech signs or gestures.
- Children which attend the setting who are just beginning to become more independent we must encourage them to be confident and make choices for themselves but while doing so they must be guided in how to assert their choices and feeling appropriately without the use of abuse or violence, both physical and verbal (the threat of injury)
- As a setting we ensure that we discuss biting with prospective parents and establish if a child is displaying this behaviour, this is important because then all staff can support the child an hopefully avoiding the child’s need to bite.
- It is vital if an incident of biting occurs, the setting address the issue as a group- with all the children in the session. Whilst protecting the children involved identities social stories are good for approaching this situation.
- If biting has occurred we must administer first aid and support to both children and complete the incident report.
- Confidentiality still applies on the incident reports for each child neither should be named on the others incident report, Child A and Child B system should be adopted.
- It should only occur in extreme circumstances that a parent/carer would be asked to remove their child from the setting because of the biting. We make every effort to support the child, to help them express their frustration, anger, distress in other ways that aren’t unacceptable behaviour.
In all instances of biting staff must discuss the following after the event:
- When the incident occurred
- Where the incident occurred
- Could it have been prevented?
- Is it agreed that the incident was handled appropriately?
- Are there any changes that we could put in place that could of prevented the incident from reoccurring
- Do we need to take any action? For example speaking with the parents of the child who has carried out the biting, an action plan to prevent further instances.