To reduce opportunities for biting at the service and ensure educators effectively support children who bite and are bitten.
All individuals involved in the care of a child need to recognise that at times, some children, for a variety of reasons, attempt to bite other children. Some reasons a child may bite are:
- Infants – experimental, sensory pleasure, teething, exploring cause and effect
- Toddlers – frustration including inability to express emotions, fatigue, attention seeking, confined spaces, boredom
- Older Children – Aggression, deliberate.
Educators understand that children who bite are not ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’ children, but are expressing a need, learning about acceptable forms of behaviour or learning to self-regulate their behaviour. Biting is very common in toddlers and is generally not a sign that something is wrong with the child or with their environment. Children under three usually have a limited understanding of the effects of their behaviour on others, even given the strong reactions their biting behaviour may cause. Sometimes kisses may turn into bites although they have no intention of hurting others.
Toddlers, like babies, often explore and investigate their world with their mouths, and at times this can result in biting.
Educators will intervene immediately when a child is observed biting another child. Interventions will be age appropriate. For example, a toddler may be picked up and moved to another location while a preschool child may be invited to walk to another area, or if unwilling, guided by the hand to another location.
Educators will try to determine the reason a child is biting, for example, delayed speech, hunger, tiredness, boredom and attention seeking, and then address that need or include relevant learning activities in the curriculum. For example, educators may implement activities which teach children about their emotions. Where a child bites repeatedly, educators will use incident records to help establish a reason for the biting.
Educators will calmly help children understand that biting behaviours are not acceptable. For example, educators will acknowledge with hugs and/or words children’s positive attempts to communicate through words or actions, remove child who bites from situation and firmly say ‘no’ or ‘stop biting’ and discuss appropriate responses and actions with families and team members to ensure everyone follows the same approach. Educators will never scream or yell at a child who is biting.
Educators will also support and comfort children who have been bitten, teach them to say ‘stop’ to the biting child and to get help straight away.
If a child’s biting behaviour continues, educators will work with families and if relevant external agencies to develop a written Behaviour Plan for the child. They will continue to implement effective supervision practices, and will ‘shadow’ the child as much as possible.
In the event of a biting incident, educators will implement the Biting Procedure.
Behaviour Guidance Policy
Bullying and Children Policy
Code of Conduct (Families and Visitors) Policy
Continuity of Education and Care Policy
Incident Injury Trauma and Illness Policy
Relationships with Children Policy
National Quality Standard
5.1.1 Positive educator to child interactions – Responsive and meaningful interactions build trusting relationships which engage and support each child to feel secure, confident and included.
5.1.2 Dignity and rights of the child – The dignity and rights of every child are maintained.
5.2.2 Self-regulation – Each child is supported to regulate their own behaviour, respond appropriately to the behaviour of others and communicate effectively to resolve conflicts.
6.1.3 Families are supported – Current information is available to families about the service and relevant community services and resources to support parenting and family wellbeing.
Education and Care Services National Regulations
155 Interactions with children
Early Years Learning Framework
Children feel safe, secure, and supported
Children learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect
Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities necessary for active community participation.
A bite in the playroom: Managing human bites in child care settings Paediatrics Child Health July 2008
Biting in Child Care: NCAC
Biting, pinching and hair pulling: Raising Children Network
Incident, Injury, Trauma and Illness – Drop off, Pick Up Record
Procedure – Behaviour Management
Procedure – Biting
Procedure – Working with Professionals or Support Services
Relationships – Behaviour Guidance Incident Form
Relationships – Behaviour Guidance Plan
The policy will be reviewed annually by the Approved Provider, Supervisors, Employees, Families and any committee members.