Omg! My toddler was bitten.
As a parent, I have been there. The 300 emotions go through my head. Who did it? Why was no one watching? How could this happen? I have also been on the receiving end of my little minion being the biter. You go through the 300 emotions there too except you are more self-blaming at that time.
As a teacher, it can happen in a blink of an eye. No one is to blame- biting is a developmentally appropriate stage for infants through toddlers. So, let’s put the blame game aside and focus on what we can do to help the child through this natural stage.
Biting usually becomes an “issue” in late infancy through toddlerhood. There is a red flag or trigger that causes the child to turn to biting as their response.
As a parent, I had to put aside the emotions and figure out why and what I could do to help. The little guy learned biting and thought it was a great source of defense. Then he learned oh it makes my mouth feel good when I bite. (yah teething) With knowing what was enabling or letting the child think it was okay to bite I now needed to redirect those strong toddler feelings into another safe response or action. Usually it is a security object that can take the biting or frustration. The child then learns to direct those emotions to the security object.
The cool thing about going through this with my own child is it has also given me further skills to improve my teaching world. We have all been in a room where there are bitters. We have all had to deal with both (biter and bitten) parent reactions as educators. This is where we must come together and be a team for the benefit of our children and students.
As an educator, we can sometimes get bogged down with the emotions of the problems at hand and miss the triggers. As one of my mentors says “take the emotions out of it and focus on the facts”. Is it happening during transitions? Is it when the child’s personal space is threatened? Is the child’s security object being tampered with from others? Has the child’s security item been reduced or weaned from them? All these things can cause an emotional reaction for a child. If we can find a pattern, we can find the trigger which will lead towards a solution.
Remember infants and toddlers are just learning speech. This can cause further frustrations with the child. Model and empower the child by using feeling words- i.e. Are you feeling frustrated right now? Are you mad that they were in your space? We must model and give the tools for success.
Thank you to the toddler rooms for allowing me to be a part of your world and help work towards solutions for an “issue” at hand as a team. As child advocate for YSA I want us to come together and empower our children to be successful. This includes infants all the way to school age children.
Here are a few links that I used to help identify triggers and possible solutions. Each child is different and so is each parents’ response to the situation.
I am always available to discuss any challenges or behaviors that you might want an outside look in on.
Empower today’s children for our future
Child Success Advocate of Young Scholars Academy
~ Ms. Michaela (Mic)