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Ship’s Ahoy’s goal is to assure the safety and well being of all children and adults within our facilities.  Our program recognizes that biting is, unfortunately, not unexpected when infants and toddlers are in-group care.  We realize that this is upsetting for the children, parents, and staff.  While we do not feel it is the right thing for children to do, we understand that children bite for a variety of reasons and that is developmentally appropriate behavior for infants and toddlers.  Although you may never discover the reasons a child bites, some of the more common reasons are as follows:


- Anger

- Frustration

- Too much stimulation or activity

- Not enough adult/child interaction

- Imitation of behavior

- Confusion

- Reaction (someone will fuss if I bite)

- Avoidance of a task

- To gain access to something denied

- Fear

- Sadness

- Not enough activity

- Noisy environment

- Curiosity (what will it feel like?)

- Difficulty waiting for a turn

- Teething


Biting can be an uncomfortable issue for parents.  The parents of a child who has been bitten are often outraged and angry.  Parents of the biting child may feel embarrassed and frustrated.  Ship’s Ahoy feels that sharing information about the causes of biting and our plans for controlling the situation can help parents to put things into perspective.

What is a bite?

A bite is considered mouth to skin contact, which results in visual marks or wound left on the skin.  Mouth to skin contact with no marks left will be considered an attempt to bite.

We understand the severity of bites can vary greatly and this may require evaluation of the biting policy on an individual basis.  Some examples of reasons that may require individual evaluations are as follows:


- Broken skin from bites (will be considered as two bites on the preventative behavior actions)

- Multiple bites in one day or short period of time

- Cognitive, physical, or emotional issues that have been identified.

- Parent participation/ involvement examples:  spending time in classroom, bringing in or working with outside resources, consistent communication with teachers and director about progress etc….


Steps we take when a child bites are as follows…


  1. Show child the effects of biting such as the crying of another child or injury that was caused.
  2. Have child participate in taking care of the child that was bit. Help wash bite and help with placing an ice pack / bandaid on bite.
  3. Redirect the child to another activity that may separate them from the situation in which the biting occurred.
  4. After they are calm, discuss biting with them.  Infants as young as 4-months old can learn not to bite by repeating a sincere message such as “Ouch that hurt Caleb”.
  5. Call the parent and explain plan of action according to the step they are at, along with a written report of the incident.
  6. Provide a plan of action for the teacher and parent from the book: “So This is Normal Too” Teachers and Parents Working Out Developmental Issues in Young Children.


Special Provisions:

If a child bites more than once within a single day, the child will be sent home for the remainder of the day (regardless of amount of previous bites).  If the bites occur before 2:00 p.m. the child will be sent home for the day.  If the child bites after 2:00 p.m., the child will be asked to stay home the following day as well.  The child must be picked up within 30 minutes of being contacted.


Toddlers & 2’s:

No Bites:  After your child has not bitten within a period of 2 weeks (14 calendar days) the prior Prevention Behavior Action taken will be repeated if there is another biting incident.

Three’s & Fours:

No Bites:  After your child has not bitten for 1 month (30 calendar days), the prior Preventative Behavior Action will be repeated if there is another biting incident.


Preventative Behavior Actions

While our goal is to correct inappropriate behavior and to provide a safe environment for all children, the following preventative behavior actions will be taken to address inappropriate biting:

Toddlers & 2’s: 1st & 2nd Bite

Three & Fours: 1st Bite

Child/Parent Notification:  We will speak with you and your child about the incident and assist them in learning desirable behaviors.  We will also notify the parent by phone and write an incident report that must be signed by the teacher, director and parent.  The parents will be given another copy of the biting policy (after first bite) and information pertaining to biting and ways to assist children from biting in various settings.

Toddlers & 2’s:  3rd & 4th Bite

Three’s & Fours: 2nd Bite

Parent Conference:  There will be mandatory parent/director conference to discuss the incidents as well as written documentation.  Ship’s Ahoy will evaluate the next step and we will take into consideration the child’s age, behavior, prior reports, willingness of parent to participate in preventative biting measures.  At this point we will also consider bringing in an outside specialist to come into the classroom.  The Specialist will meet with you and your child and evaluate the environment to attempt in find triggers for the biting.  The Specialist will then discuss any finding with the parents and Ship’s Ahoy Staff to try and prevent these incidents from occurring again.

Parent Participation:  You will be required to participate in the classroom for 1 hour to observe teachers working in the room and to offer your suggestions for the environment and /or caring for your child.  The opportunity enables the parent and center to work together in the best interest of your child.

Toddlers &2’s:  5th & 6th Bite

Three & Fours: 3rd & 4th  Bite

Minor Suspension: (3 days) Your child will be suspended for the period of three days (tuition will be due for this time period). The suspension is for the health and safety of all individuals in the classroom.  The next steps will be a review of what we have done that has or has not been effective.  Ship’s Ahoy Staff would meet with the parents to determine a further course of attention.

Parent Participation:  You will be required to participate in the classroom for 2 hours to collaborate with the center and help your child during this time.

Toddlers & 2’s: 7th Bite

Three & Fours: 5th Bite

Termination:  At this time we will ask you to find alternative care you’re your child.  All parent communications and conferences will be documented and placed in the child’s file for review.