Understanding biting in childcare.

One of the most troublesome behaviours, from a parent’s perspective, is biting. A parent doesn’t want to think their child is hurting another and they also don’t want to think that childcare isn’t adequate and their child has been bitten.  However, biting in childcare is a very common behaviour from the time children start teething and then throughout their toddler years.


This is because children use biting as a way to express their emotions, especially ones of anger or frustration which can be very overwhelming. Children aren’t able to process their emotions in the same way as adults and so the nursery is the ideal place to educate children and support them when thinking about the consequences of their actions.


How we handle biting at Tops Day Nurseries


Our Tops childcare professionals do not engage in issuing punishment to a young child’s outburst as we believe this will have a negative effect and won’t help them to learn why they have something wrong.


We require all staff, volunteers and students to use positive strategies for handling any behaviour, by helping children find solutions in ways which are appropriate for the children’s ages and stages of development. Each child is allocated to a key worker who will be able to identify any triggers or reactions a child may have in the build up to a potential biting incident and can diffuse the situation.  Such solutions might include, for example, acknowledgement of feelings, explanation as to what is acceptable and supporting children to gain control of their feelings so that they can learn a more appropriate response.


Children need to learn to consider the views and feelings, needs and rights, of others and the impact that their behaviour has on people, places and objects. This is a developmental task that requires support, encouragement, teaching and setting the correct example. The principles that underpin how we achieve positive and considerate behaviour exist within the settings for promoting personal, social and emotional development.


We have a named person who has overall responsibility for developing positive behaviour in each of our settings.  To find out more about how we work with the children in our care to help them grow and develop, you can find your local nursery here.

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