Infants & Toddlers Who Bite

Hello. A number of years ago I put together a handout for the parents of the children in my infant-toddler classroom. It was about why young children bite. That handout became the seed for an article on my website (www.tw4ece.com) called Biting: Dracula at the Day Care. Each and every month, it is the most popular page on my site with more hits than any other page. I also frequently get e-mail from parents who are struggling with the issue of toddlers who bite. I try to answer them as best as I can always leaving the disclaimer that without knowing the child, the family, the settings, and the context in which the child lives my thoughts are general at best.

It is my intention to use this blog as a place to direct families and educarers from my website so that a discussion can take place.

I look forward to the dialogue!

Tim


14 thoughts on “Infants & Toddlers Who Bite

  1. Have just found this post and feel at least I am not the only mother of dracula! After another biting incident today at my childminders I am dreading dropping him off tomorrow for fear that I could given a letter saying my son can no longer be cared for. My son is the youngest and has come home with bites from other children – at the moment hes teething(last incisor). I really am at my wits end as these incidents are happening when Im not around – so I can't dicipline him (hes 19months) and not sure he really understands yet. Any help would be very welcome.julia817@hotmail.com

  2. As frustrating as it can be, it is very difficult to solve biting behaviors unless you are present at the time. Have you had a sit-down discussion with your childminders? What kinds of strategies are they using? With what result?

  3. My wife and I are having trouble with our oldest foster daughter. She is 3 1/2 years old and is biting a younger foster brother (23 months). It usually occurs in the evening, not during the day care hours when my wife has other children to supervise. It happens after they have played together for awhile. It is usually over a toy. He is chunkier than her and a few times has sat on her, this led to biting before we could get him off of her. She has bit him now 4 times in the past 4 weeks. She just came up to me and said what are you doing? (This is funny) I told her I am writing Tim Graves about you biting. She pointed to Tim's picture and said he is smiling. I said that is because he doesn't know yet that you bit. She said,"oh . . " (she did look remorseful then) and then said "Harper bit Tommy today." Harper is 22 months and Tommy is 11 months. My wife has worked a home day care and fostered children for 25 years. Anyway today at a birth parent visit the birth father became irate and accused us of child abuse. Yes, the welfare visited us and took pictures. (Actually the father is the abuser as he drug his son around with a rope around the boy's neck) Needless to say we were searching for some expertise on toddler biting and found Tim's website and this blog. So I thought I would write a comment and recommend "Biting: Dracula at the Day Care." It is a great article. Thanks

  4. Now how am I going to frown at your foster daughter's biting when your story makes me laugh?!??It sounds to me like you have one advantage in your situation and that is that you still seem to be finding joy in your children. I'm glad that you found my article helpful.

  5. Hi,Congratulations on the baby on the way. I'm glad my article on biting was useful. If you're just trying to learn about appropriate discipline, an excellent place to start is at Parents Action for Children (formerly the I Am Your Child Foundation). The web address is http://www.iamyourchild.org. Type "discipline" in the search box and you will get multiple articles to read. They also sell an excellent video (vhs or dvd) for only 14.95 called Discipline: Teaching Limits with Love. (No, I don't get a cut.)Another place to look is at http://www.naeyc.org/families Hope this gets you started and, again, congratulations on the baby on the way!Tim

  6. I loved your article! It was the first article that I found that states the educators have a responsibility too. I belong to a Corporate Daycare and have a 22 month dracula who they have threaten to kick out. It is extremely frustrating since I am not there and she does not bite at home. It is also hard as I see my victim's parents at work and they have started to shun me. I am trying hard to eliminate the biting and I plan to show your article to my Daycare Director. Thanks again!!!!

  7. I am at a loss. My little girl just turned two years old and is in a private child care facility, basically meaning that there is a child that is only two weeks younger then my daugher and 2 other children that are only 10 months old. Well my daughter and the other little girl (same age one) seem to have issues. My daughter bites her. It wasn't consistant and it was only this little girl. My daughter didn't bite at home or others. Well the other girls parents have made some extremely frustrating comments (they know it is my daughter) and I understand there frustration but seem to act like I am not doing anything. How can I discipline my daughter when I am not there. The other mother has gone as far as calling me at work. Now apparently this past week my daughter has actually bit the other girl everyday. This was not the norm. The other parent, father, actually yelled at my daughter before I got to the childcare to pick her up. I am not making excuses if that is what it sounds like and I hate that she bites I am just having a problem understanding why is it only this one girl! I just don't know what to do. I finally got her accepted in another childcare facility (large, more kids) but she doesn't start there until Aug. I am starting to dred picking her up and hearing what has happend that day. Just don't know what to do…….K

  8. As the others in this post I am at a loss….my daughter is 15 mos and she is biting and nothing we have tried is working. She seems to know she shouldn't do it as I have caught her starting to bite and she will smile, bite and laugh. She mainly only bites at daycare – she attends an in-home daycare with 4 other children. She seems to only bite this one child, a boy and it's usually over a toy or situation where she doesn't get her way. We have tried time-outs – not effective as she will not stay put and the daycare provider can't keep her in place and take care of the other 4 kids. We have tried putting vinegar in her mouth – the 1st time she gagged, the 2nd time she opened her mouth for more. I have tried "biting" her back even though I know you aren't supposed to, but it seemed to work for a day but the next day she was back at it. I fear that if I don't get this under control we are going to be asked to remove her from day care. I'm sure the other mother is probably furious that her poor son comes home with bite marks every day.

  9. I am absolutly lost, I currently work at a daycare and my 16 month old daughter is in between the beginner room and the toddler room. She bites someone at least once a day and today she bit 5 times. I was asked to leave work today to take her home. I don't understand why she is biting. I need some advise. My husband and I have been teaching her no and how biting is not nice, when she bites us, but how can I prevent it from happening at school? She is so attached to her pacifier that she wasn't even trying to talk, now we have limited it to only when she sleeps, and my boss wants me to give it back to her during the day because its easier for them to catch her going to bite. This situation stresses me out alot because not only does my daughter attend the day care I am employed there. Any one who can offer me help please do so.

  10. My 15 month old recently started biting and reading all of the other stories the tale is so familiar. Today I went to pick up my little boy from the nursery and the carer told me that he had tried to bite another child again. She told me this in front of other parents and said that this was a very serious situation and other parents will not tolerate my sons behavoiur. I came out of the nursery and broke down and cried. The other child carers were very supportive and we are working togther to try to stop the biting. Their advice was to distract the child to try to prevent it happening. However this cant work all the time so we are all going to be consistent about how we dea with a biting incident. We are all going to be firm with my son when it happens and try to instill some sort of understanding that this behaviour is not acceptable. Wish me luck.

  11. Like all of the others I am at my wits end. My 27 month old daughter has been biting since she was 13 months old. She has been kicked out of 2 daycares and is currently in an in-home daycare. For the first 6 months she was in the in-home daycare she didn't bite at all. Didn't even attempt. Now all of a sudden, the biting is back. Her biting doesn't seem to fit into any of the typical patterns and I've had 3 different daycares stumped on what to do. We have tried just about everything that anyone has suggested, but to no avail. How can I stop this terrible biting. I'm a single mom, so staying home with her is not an option. I'm deperate!!T

  12. I hope that my daughter does not begin to bite others. She only bites me(mother).Do you have advice for me? I have bruises on my arms, stomach and legs.Thx.

  13. When is biting excessive? There is a 3 year old child at preschool that constantly bites. the last episode was 3 bites in one session on my daughter. One bite left dragging teeth marks. All bites left marks that took days to heal.This child has other issues as well. At what point should something be done to help this child and protect the rest?

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