Assess Reasons for Biting

You will need time to assess/reflect on what was happening that possibly led to the bite. The time needed to assess what happened will be different if this is a first occurence or repeating behavior. When you assess the situation you need to look at more than the child who bit. You need to assess the whole environment of your program. Environment includes both the physical setting and the emotional feeling of the space. It includes the personalities of every child present and the relationship between child and adults in the program. Following are some questions you might ask in your assessment.

Reasons for Biting

Infants learn about the world around them by exploring it with their hands, eyes, and mouths. Toddlers have many strong emotions that they are just learning to manage. It’s important to understand that infants and toddlers bite for many reasons, such as:

  • Relieve pain from teething.
  • Explore cause and effect (“What happens when I bite?”).
  • Experience the sensation of biting/ oral stimulation.
  • Satisfy a need for oral-motor stimulation.
  • Imitate other children and adults.
  • Feel strong and in control.
  • Get attention.
  • Act in self-defense.
  • Communicate needs and desires, such as hunger or fatigue.
  • Communicate or express difficult feelings, such as frustration, anger, confusion, or fear

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