We've Got a Biter, and not the Twilight Type

It all started a month ago when Jackson's Toddler-Room classmates taught him a new bad habit: biting.

The day I picked him up from daycare with a note reading "I was bitten by a friend today," I walked out of the daycare thinking, it's begun.

Jackson had shown no signs of biting at that point. Give it a couple weeks, and he's open-mouth kissing. You know, just turning into that sweet toddler I've been gushing about with those kind, cuddly tendencies.

Those cute open-mouth kisses morphed into a little nibble. Within a couple weeks those rare nibbles at home became a note reading "Today, your child bit a friend."

Huh?! They must've given me the wrong note, right? Wrong. 

Jackson had indeed bitten a friend.
Then he did it again.
And again.
And next thing I know it'd been three days in a row.

Per his daycare Director, I was to sit Jackson {my then 15-month-old} down for a talk about hit biting. Ha! Sit down a 15-month-old and talk it out?!

So far, polling of family and friends has confirmed this is a ridiculous order suggestion in regards to dealing with a young toddler.

Over the last few week's we've done our best to handle the rare biting occurrences that happen in-home. And we had no more instances of biting at daycare. Naively I thought we were in the clear. You'd think I'd know better by now.

A biting streak hit Jackson again last week. And it wasn't pretty friends. Thursday I arrived to not one but four notes informing me he'd bitten a friend. Four!

The Director, again, gave me a speech on sitting with Jackson to discuss his biting, and that we need to "figure something out." Oh, and, they're trying to find a teacher to come in and shadow him.

So here I am, wondering how the hell I can help this daycare "figure something out" about Jackson's biting rampage.

A few notes:
-The biting is still considered rare at home. I won't say nonexistent, but certainly rare.
-The biting is not happening {to my knowledge} in any pattern. No specific time of day aka morning and afternoon, while playing and just sitting during story time.
-He has been bitten multiple times at daycare.
-Biting him does not work. He thinks it's hilarious if we bite him back.
-He will in no way realistically understand me sitting down to lecture him at this point in his development. 

Moms, teachers, people who like to throw in their two cents, this is your chance:

How do we deal with Jackson's current biting streak?


  1. Oh no! I'm sorry to hear about this, and I have no suggestions. Wishing you luck my friend!

  2. Oh my goodness. I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I had a biter too with Dominic, however, I did bite him back once and he never bit again.

    First, let me just say as a formal Assistant Director of a Daycare, in no way should she be telling you to have "talks" with him. He is a baby. Biting in the toddler room and even the two's room is common and is nothing abnormal.
    Second, if he bites you then you can say "Jackson biting is not nice, it hurts. No thank you!" However, if you are not there to witness it in action at daycare, then you cannot chat with him about it.
    Third, biting happens because another child is (for example) taking something from him and since he cannot talk, he bites in reaction.

    With that said, if the director is going to be pushy about you doing something... Then I suggest maybe taking part of a day off from work and stay at daycare with him. (of course if the daycare has an open door policy so that you can come and go as you please). Then you can "shadow" him yourself and see what is happening that is making him bite. Then you can "chat" with him as soon as it happens. You can interact with the teachers and show them that you are taking it serious and trying to fix the problem. And you can also see (if you stay outside the class for a bit and observe) how they react to his biting.

    I hope I helped a bit. HUGS!

    1. These are very good suggestions!

      I couldn't believe what the director was ordering you to do -- how on Earth does she expect you to have this discussion with him?! I like the suggestion about shadowing him yourself if possible rather than some random teacher. Oh my!

      Good luck, mama! <3

  3. I run a home daycare and I've always dealt with biting swiftly. After making sure there was no skin break, I pick up the toddler responsible, moved him to a time out seat and said firmly "We do not bite friends, " Then I check on the other toddler. Once we've reached about 30-40 seconds in time out, I walk over and say "You're in time out because you bit/hit/kicked/hurt a friend! When we hurt friends, we need to say sorry." I am walk with the biter/hitter/hurter over and say " is sorry s/he bit you. Can s/he give you a hug?"

    I swear to you this works at 15 months, it takes a few tries but it is worth it. I still deal with some amount of toddler on toddler violence, but that's pretty normal when you have children no yet reaching the impulse control stage of development.

    Also, don't let the daycare centre bully you! When he's in their care, put the onus back on them about making suggestions to help him stop this at care.

  4. The daycare should be helping you find solutions not ordering you to "talk" to your toddler about it. Natalie had a phase of hitting when she was angry and we would hold her hands, look right in her eyes and say a VERY firm "No! Ouch! That hurts Momma!" And then if she did it again we removed her from the situation. If she was up in bed with us, then she was put on the floor. Maybe that's something the daycare should also be instituting - a firm NO with removal from his friends or toys. It probably won't fix it right away but give him a few weeks and he will figure it out.........or find another way to be a little goober. Natalie is now into screeching and stomping her feet furiously to try to get what she wants.

  5. I would think that the daycare would be a bit more proactive in helping come up with a solution...something more than "you need to talk to your son".
    They are obviously seeing him do this. Couldn't they tell him "no biting, Jackson!" or "Jackson that hurts!"???
    Kids learn by repetition. They will not stop immediately just by talking to them. They need to be told every time they do something wrong, that it is in fact wrong. Soon they will catch on and stop doing it.
    Since it happens mostly at daycare, I think they need to be doing something able it as well. ???
    Good luck. A lot of kids go through this so hopefully you find something that works for Jackson!

  6. Eek! I'm so nervous Colin will start doing this. He hasn't, thankfully, but he hits and kicks me during diaper changes, so I wonder sometimes if he tries to pull that crap with the daycare employees, even though they haven't said so. Goodness, toddlers can be a handful! No good solutions for you, but I hope it stops soon!

  7. Oh no! It's hard to believe that they think 'talking' with a 15 month old is a good solution. I think you are doing all that you can at home and if your doing your very best he will surely learn it's a no-no in no time. Toddlers you can give us a run for our money! Good luck!

  8. I have no personal experience with this BUT my best friend's son went through this. First off, don't ever bite them back. That's like rule number one. Their doc even said for a few days stop all mouth contact (kissing, boo). And even if you think they can't understand you, talk about how biting isn't appropriate. Show them appropriate behaviors. And then ask the daycare what his demeanor is like before and after it happens. Is he frustrated or irritated. My friend's son was and once they got him to understand that if this particular child bothered him he could let the teacher know it pretty much cleared up. I hope some of that helps. Either way, even though it is no fun, he will make it through this phase.

  9. Can I just say talking to a 15 month old baby about something he did hours earlier is not going to be effective. The day care needs to correct it as it is happening. Also, I think it's pretty common for babies to test out the biting thing. Not to many babies grow up to be adults who go around biting people so don't stress it. Put it back on the day care to see what they are doing when it happens.

  10. I'd have to agree with all te comments about the day care needing to give you more info about what ha happened to cause him to bite others. It's obviously something he has learned from bein bitten himself. Like to get a toy or show they are upset and he in turn is doing the same thing.
    Talking to him after the fact won't do much not at this age daycare should be telling him no and immediately after the fact removing him from the situation that ha upset him.
    Good luck!

  11. Oh my goodness. I am going through the same thing with my two year old! My older daughter never did this. But this is my little one's go-to when she is frustrated or angry. I have had to learn to see signs when she is going to chomp on her sister. Taking a toy away from her generally is the impetus. She's small but feisty and this is her way of handling "bullying." Let me know if you find a way to stop it!
    Tracy @ http://www.momaical.com

  12. Oh, honey! How in the world does someone who works with children PROFESSIONALLY suggest you sit a 15 month old down and REASON with him??? I'm seriously laughing. Ludicrous.

    I wish I could offer something helpful, but it sounds like these other mamas have a handle on it :) Stay strong! No one graduates from high school a biter - eventually, they outgrow it!

  13. ugh...biting!!! don't have babies yet but used to work in a daycare!!! I hope you can figure it out! :( not fun huh? At least he's cute!

    Thanks for linking up to the hop today!

  14. I honestly laughed at the suggestion of sitting a toddler down for a heart to heart talk on the evils of biting. Yeah, that's ridiculous. I think a lot of the commenters are on the right track, at that age, the training really has to be in the moment when an "offense" occurs. If you're around when he bites, you reprimand him in whatever your preferred way--but if you try to talk about it later and not in the context of the immediate situation, that won't make any sense to a little boy.

  15. We have tried everything! My boys just go through the stage and occassionally is brought up again. I just have to watch them really close! I am sorry! I hope it gets better. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your blog is so organized! I love it.

  16. Yikes girl! Hopefully they can get a teacher to shadow to maybe see what sets him off or why he's doing it. W did it a couple of times to my husband but I think it was in exploration. Another child has never done it to him but we quickly corrected him. Yea, good luck with that sit down "talk." Maybe just reiterate in simple terms -- no bite. Or whatever words you use. I'm no expert but would reminding him again when you drop him off work? No biting. Biting is for food only.

    I don't know!!!


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