Biting: Normal Preschool Behavior | Bright Beginnings Preschool

Biting: A Normal Developmental Behavior

In our classrooms at Bright Beginnings we do everything we can to reduce and alleviate biting behaviors in young children. We understand this behavior is age appropriate for Waddlers and Toddlers, however, we work tirelessly to give children the tools they need to regulate their emotions properly.

Biting behaviors occur for several reasons. Children who have yet to learn language, either spoken or sign, become frustrated they are unable to communicate, and in order to express their frustration, they react in a way they know how. Teething can also lead a child to bite, since applying pressure relieves the pain they are experiencing in that moment. Environmental changes, either at home or school, are very influential on waddlers and toddlers. Biting behaviors occur in these situations because our waddlers and toddlers want their emotions to be recognized. All we need to do is give them the tools to regulate their emotions, and to communicate in a way we all understand.

In Bright Beginnings’ classrooms, we:

  • Keep environments as safe as possible, where “all children are within sight and sound” at all times
  • Track behaviors to understand where biting begins/li>
  • Look at patterns in behavior to create better classroom and student management
  • Split the class into small groups to create an environment where children are not over stimulated
  • Keep activities short for maximum engagement: we understand waddlers and toddlers have a 2-3 minute attention span
  • Teach sign language as part of our curriculum
  • Verbally map all activities: use as much descriptive language as possible to explain (everything!) and expose children to words
  • Positively redirect children when appropriate, and calmly but firmly explain why biting hurts, when applicable
  • Shadowing for children who need extra reminders
  • Train teachers in first aid/CPR to understand how to properly treat and clean bite wounds

Again, at Bright Beginnings we want to create the safest environment for children. We prefer never to send a child home because of biting. We will work with families to use the same age-appropriate language, to proactively address incidents immediately, and to keep our communication as clear as possible with families. We reserve the right to send a child home when they have bitten more than three times in one day breaking the skin, but only in older age groups, such as threes. The only reason this would occur is child safety, which is our number one priority.

At home, parents can talk with their children about how biting hurts. Ask your child’s teacher about the language used in the classroom and use those same words consistently, at both home and school. Literature about biting also helps, such as the book Teeth Are Not For Biting by Karen Katz. Also, the board book Baby Signs, illustrated by Joy Allen, can be helpful for families to learn together and teach their children an alternate way to communicate. It’s amazing to watch the frustration melt away!

Remember, biting is an age appropriate behavior, and it does not last forever. Children learn to regulate, understand, and communicate with our help and support. Teachers are always happy to help and share their knowledge any way they can. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions, and together we will teach our little ones the best ways to regulate, communicate, and interact.

– Bright Beginnings

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