21 month old “ impulsive” biting at daycare

Hi Amazing Team-
My 21 month old has been in on day care for 6 weeks. He is so happy there and excited when he sees his friends. However, the daycare has held meeting with us multiple times because she continues to bite her friends. It seems like it’s impulse. Nothing due to sharing or anger. He will be playing in a group or next to another child and out of nowhere she will bite them. I don’t know what to do. The daycare has been using teething/crunchy food, walking in the hallways, reading no biting books.
Does anyone have suggestions first of all of this is typical behavior she is biting out of impulsiveness. The daycare is making me feel like something is wrong with our child. Other than hopefully she needs more time .
Has anyone dealt with this. She also isn’t using a lot of words. Just started speech. But I don’t know how else to help.

Did you rule out any medical issues such as needing tubes , or glasses ? My son had this problem where he would bite kids and wouldn’t talk . We ended up taking him to an ENT , and turns out he needed tubes put in. Once we put in tubes he never bit again.

Unfortunately biting isn’t so uncommon for this age as they’re figuring out how to express their emotions-even if the emotion is excitement, but it’s so difficult to figure out how to stop it. It sounds like the daycare is being supportive in the actions they’re taking which is a good thing, but sometimes the feedback can be difficult because it can be challenging to stop and there’s pressure on you to help which is really hard to do from home.

Let’s ask some of the professionals in our community for suggestions they may have.
@Drkarenweiss @BreeMilani @Alinclusivetherapy @abg_speechtherapy @Speechwithjwo @drbrittanyzis @OT.ideas.for.littles

That’s actually really interesting! Was it caused by referred pain from the ears? How did you figure out they were connected?

We are going to the ent tomorrow I hope that’s it!!! I actually was wondering about the glasses today, but it doesn’t seem like he has any visual issues. Hoping it’s tubes :pray:t4: This has been such a challenging time. Although overall we liked the daycare they are making us feel like there is a problem with my son because they can’t figure out why he impulsively does it. Again, not out of anger, frustration. Almost see’s another child his age and out of curiously grabs at their face or bites. He doesn’t do this to adults

Preschool teacher here, I actually work with children ages 12-24 months! At this age, bitting is a normal, age-appropriate behavior. As language development emerges children they may become frustrated when they can’t verbalize their thoughts and emotions, causing them to bite. At 21 months, I can’t image it just happening randomly. Every challenging behavior is a means of communication for the child. Also is this a behavior that happens at home? Or just as daycare? Does the daycare practice curriculum or stimulating activities? Or just play all day?

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It doesn’t happen at home. He doesn’t bite adults or older children. We have noticed he does it around kids his own age such as the play ground or if playing near my friends son. We have limited play ground time to have “success” so we stay 15 minutes. An example that happened last week was a child going down the slide right next to him and another child sitting near him in the sand box. Doesn’t seem like it’s malicious since they aren’t sharing a toy etc. but we redirect and say “we don’t bite you can use you can say hi and wave”. After that situation he was able to play near him and we worked on sharing his toy which he did well. At daycare, they have circle time , go for walks, free play. I’m not 100% how scheduled it is. The school is pressuring us because they feel like they need to be on top of him not to bite another child. I just don’t know why he is doing it impulsively, the only thing I see is either a way to communicate or curiosity. Every article I read, it says it’s typical behavior but he has been biting/hitting for a few months and we placed him in a daycare for this reason. He has been there for a 9 weeks with a week break. I just don’t know what else I can do. Please as a daycare teacher this is typical! I just can’t figure out the trigger

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I’m not sure exactly why he was biting , the ENT said it was prob the fluid making it hard for him to hear which caused him to be unsure what other kids were saying so he would bite . All I know is he got the tubes put in and never bit again.

From that example it seems like it could be a personal space thing, which then leads back to language. If it is a personal space thing, helping him verbalize that someone is too close could be beneficial. That redirection is great and one I often use. You could also say teeth are for food, mouths are for smiling, etc. Are his teachers redirecting him in the same way?

His teachers started giving him a teether or Cheerios for something to chew on before it happens they say. I was nervous it was being used and he was doing the behavior to get the snack. They say they redirect him and say “ nice hand”, “ you can bite an apple “. But I’m not sure if all this attention is good either because when we pick him up from school or read the biting books he constantly makes the hand gesture of “no” he gets it and it’s sad to see him… any other suggestions to help his teachers or us help facilitate what to model.

To me the offering of snacks is very odd. It makes sense to offer an alternative to bite, but by using food I feel like that could alter his eating habits. Offering teethers is a better alternative because the child gets that biting sensation and it can provide comfort if the child is teething. I would ask the teachers if they think it could be a personal space issue and if yes, if they could help him verbalize his need for space to others. At this age, a phrase like “too close” would be easy for him to learn to let other children know he wants space. This phrase could actually be beneficial for the whole class. It does take a lot of consistent redirection on the teachers part. At this age while children are beginning their language development, they still need the help of adults to label their feelings and facilitate their wants to others. It’s a lot of back and forth and consistent redirection. these challenging behaviors can be resolved, but it does take time. If the teachers aren’t understanding or make you feel like your child is a problem child, I would suggest finding another school. Teachers are supposed to work as a team with parents, not make them feel shame.