Biting in Preschool: How to Respond

Biting is very common for toddlers in preschool, but it’s more important to understand what specifically could cause the toddlers to bite.

In regular daycare with at least 60 kids, there is at least 1 biting every day according to the baby and toddler biting in the pediatrics and child health journal. So you understand how common it is, yet your kid has bitten some other kids. This news hurts a lot as a parent.

So why is biting at preschool a concerning matter? Though the risk of getting infected and transmitting of the virus is minimal because of biting and getting bitten, still it gives a lot of parental anxiety. Also, child physicians always address and counsel the parents about biting and the risk of infection.

Under the study of Minneapolis Centers in the USA, 35% of all injuries are reported because of biting. Though only 2% of biting injuries break the skin. Still, if toddlers need to know, it’s not okay to bite. So here we are to talk about biting behavior management and how to stop a child from biting at daycare.

Biting in Preschool

Why do Toddlers Bite?

A toddler biting expresses their aggressive behavior. Now toddlers can get aggressive because of being overwhelmed by a situation. When they get overwhelmed, biting is the last thing they do before crying. Before biting, they use their hands and legs and sometimes shout. Here we are going to disclose why toddlers bite other children.

Being Stressed

Toddlers above 18 months to 3 years can feel stressed at preschool for many reasons. Like finding himself in a new group of toddlers, a new place, etc. These are the reasons a toddler feels really stressed, and that leads to biting.

Violation of personal space

Yeah, even toddlers need personal space, especially toddlers who have sensory issues or are very sensitive about their toys. So when other toddlers crowd around him and touch his toys inside his bubble, he feels unsafe and gets frustrated because he can’t express his feelings. That’s when toddlers bite.

Instinctive bite

We mostly see siblings or twins in school. When one toddler takes away the doll from his/her sister and the sister reacts by biting him/her siblings and grabbing the doll. She does not know what else she can do to get her doll back.

Excessive noise

Now the first thing that comes to your mind from where excessive noise comes to the toddler’s preschool. Look, your toddlers are not used to having so many toddlers and their sounds make your toddler feel overwhelmed. They detect creating the most noise near them, that’s when the bite.

Common life stressors

Toddlers can get anxiety too, though they are so itty bitty, yet they are soaked in emotions and anxiety in the environment. So they can’t talk to express their emotions and unsafe feelings, so often it comes out, and biting happens.

There is some common big stressor that causes toddlers biting like moving houses, parents changing, death and funeral. These are real-life issues but can create anxiety for toddlers and thus they bite.

Teething

Teething is the sign of a habitual biter, for some kids, it’s worse and for some, it’s not so bad. But during the teething period, biting is a common scenario.

Scheduling issues

A toddler biting happens because of a rigid routine. Sometimes a toddler needs more sleep than the usual one, so as a caregiver when you wake every toddler up for their snacks, even though one child is still exhausted for whatever reason. So you set the child up and it makes him have a more difficult time managing his feelings. So if this toddler is a bitter, then it can be a trigger for him to bite.

Read: How to Treat Mosquito Bites in Children

Stop Biting in Preschool

How to Make a Toddler Stop Biting in Preschool?

We are saying biting is a common scenario now and then. But why? Because you shouldn’t give harsh punishment or harsh scolding to your toddlers for biting other toddlers. If you are on the site or if you work in child day care, first look for the child who was bitten. Make sure that kid is okay and if he needs first aid, give him that. Then in a cool head, try the following steps to make the biter understand it was heinous work.

Don’t scold or act like you gonna bite him back

There are some parents and caregivers who try to cool down the bitten kids by scolding the biter informing him or acting like they’ll bite him back as revenge. But this is absolutely wrong, try to calm down the bitten kid first then calmly ask the one who bit what happened.

Then listen to his entire words about what happened. And describe to him how biting hurts and it can get him some viruses. Ensure him that if anything happens like the reason why he bit, then come to you and tell instead of biting.

Doping the first aid with the Help of the biter toddler

Talk to the child who was hurt and say “I m really sorry, the pain will go away in a second.” Then tell the kids who bit this kid. Tell him that what he did is not at all a good thing. Now help you to do some first aid. But don’t force him to help you on first aid. If you are able to make him understand what he did wasn’t good at all, he will join with you.

Talk to the toddler who bites

Talk to the child who did the biting. Maintain eye contact and speak in simple words using a calm, firm tone of voice. Find out what happened that led to this incident. Tell him biting is prohibited.

Prevention of Biting in Preschool

Biting in preschool classrooms happens regularly, but you are talking and solving the biting problem of a toddler after talking to him is like cleaning up the mess after pollution. So there must have to be some work criteria in preschools for eliminating biting incidents completely.

Figure out what triggers his biting

It’s really important to find out if a toddler bites the same person twice or same time in a few days. In preschools, the assistants should give special attention to the toddler who bites and see what causes the child to bite.

Introduce them with other elements

As the preschool toddlers can’t express their emotions and frustration, introduce them with a punching pillow. Let them hug you when they feel unsafe, or feel like loosing their personal space at school. Also in preschool and daycare centers, duplicate toys reduce the tensions between toddlers.

Be consistent in daily schedule

In preschool, the routine should be predictable and familiar for toddlers. Yeah, the first few days they will struggle, but once they get adjusted to the schedule, don’t change it frequently. Like kids can feel hungry and frustrated if lunch time comes 30 minutes late or if it comes 30 minutes earlier and decreases their play time, which can trigger the toddler’s frustration.

Related: How to get rid of my baby’s thumb sucking habit?

Parents duty to keep their child overcome biting habit

  • Observe and learn what situation causes the biting.
  • Stand near & jump in when your child is about to bite others.
  • If you find the child is frustrated with a sibling, suggest he tell his sister or brother it is time for your play and give your toy back.
  • Educating your child with a reminder like telling other kids he doesn’t like that “I don’t prefer it when you come close to my personal bubble”.
  • Reminding him/her continuously that no one likes kids who bite.

FAQ

1. How do I stop my preschooler from biting?

– This is not like magic that will stop your child from biting immediately. First, you must know what triggers his biting behavior and what his frustration is. Then tell him the ways how to deal with that frustration and discourage him from biting.

2. What do daycares do about biting?

– Daycares take a lot of initiative to prevent toddler biting. They provide the same toys for every toddler. Follow a perfect schedule, read them stories about losing teeth and getting infected by viruses because of biting, etc.

3. How do you discipline a 4 years old for biting?

– You must talk to the kids and understand why they bite. If you don’t find any frustration or issues in preschool that cause them biting like if you ask a kid “why did you bite her James?” if he doesn’t reply then the frustration comes from Jame’s home and you must talk to the parents.

4. Is biting normal for a 3 years old?

– Quite normal for the teething period. But for a preschool kid, if he bites frequently, then it’s not normal. There must be some frustration that teachers and parents have yet to find out.

Conclusion

Look, we have discussed the reasons the child bites and how to react when biting happens, and the prevention ways. But sometimes parents do unexpected things to prevent biting, like yelling and shouting at the child. They sometimes even bite back the child gently. Remember do not give punishment for biting. As a parent, you should deal with normal discussions.