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Biting is an issue that Early Care and Education Programs must address carefully, consistently and intentionally each year. In an Out of the Box Training Kit, “Reality Bites,” the late great Jim Greenman wrote about the problem this way;
“You can see it in the eyes of staff and parents when an epidemic of biting breaks out. A tension hangs over the room like smog, a demoralizing haze of fear and anger and anticipation: when will it strike again?
Children biting other children is at once the most common and the most difficult repercussion of group child care, especially with toddlers. It happens even in the best of programs...When it happens, it is often scary, very frustrating, and very stressful for children, parents, and teachers.
Group living is hard - people rub up against each other and children in child care need and want attention from adults, and (sadly) negative attention is more desirable than being ignored. A bite is powerful and primal: quick and effective, usually inspiring immediate and dramatic reactions. Size and strength are not required, even a baby can inflict a very painful bite. Once present, it is hard to get rid of quickly. The child often bites again, another child imitates, and soon it's an epidemic. Parents become very upset about biting, and the problem escalates...”
Greenman writes of the importance of staff and families being on the same page about how to address the issue, and encourages programs to be intentional with their internal and external communications.
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