When a Child Bites

baby-443390 640What happens when a child bites?

From time to time young children bite one another. Sometimes it even happens at church.

• The bitten child is crying and may have red teeth marks.
• Teachers are concerned and embarrassed.
• Parents are apprehensive or angry.

What is a good way to respond to the trauma of biting?

• Teachers can respond to parents in a way that lets them know they will cooperate with parents to protect and train their children. Avoid blaming the parents of a biting child because biting is common among young children.
• Teachers can respond to children by comforting them and checking for broken skin. As soon as a child is comforted and treated, help them rejoin the class. Avoid rejecting a child who bites because it is common among young children.

How to retrain a child who is biting others:

• Assign someone to watch the child during class. This may be a teacher, a helper, or a parent.
• Watch for events that lead the child to bite, such as wanting a toy.
• Watch the body language the child uses just before he/she bites.
• Interrupt before the child bites and give a response such as, "Did he take your toy? Don't bite. Biting hurts" (never bite a child to show that it hurts).
• Continue this strategy until a child is no longer biting. Praise any positive behavior that results.


Written by Sharon Ellard Copyright Gospel Publishing House. All rights reserved. Used with permission.