You know those little slips the preschools and daycare centers send home? The papers that say your child had a good day, or got a scraped knee. Some parents get slips saying their child has been bitten by another child. I imagine you are upset and sad. I know I would be.
I am the parent on the other side of those slips. The one whose child is doing the biting, and I'm upset, sad and frustrated too. For both of our kids.
We have been dealing with Claire's biting for around eight months now, but really, it seems like forever.
Claire bites for a variety of reasons. When she is really frustrated and mad, it's easy to see a bite coming. While it's still not okay, I understand these bites. She has something to say and she doesn't have the words to communicate effectively. Sometimes she bites out of jealousy. Bridget is particularly vulnerable while she's nursing. Sometimes I have no idea why she bites. She'll be playing with or kissing on Bridget, and somehow they turn into bites.
Some of the issues at daycare are toy issues (which I think are standard toddler squabbles) and others are space issues. Claire doesn't like to be crowded, and will put her hands up, push at the others kids and say no. Unfortunately, a lot of the kids in the day care room right now are 18 months and younger. Even though Claire is communicating with them, they aren't listening. And when they don't listen, she bites. We are changing daycare centers in a little over a week and I'm praying the change will help. Claire will be one of the youngest kids there, and I hope that the older kids will be more receptive when she does communicate with them.
Something needs to change because when Claire bites, she bites HARD. She's broken the skin before, and bruises are common. Right now Bridget has a scrape down the bridge of her nose, a full set of teeth marks on her thigh and I have a bruise on my shoulder. This needs to stop, but I'm really at a loss as to what to try next.
We've tried so many things already. Time out. Extra chewing on her chewy tube. Vibrating teethers. Telling her how much biting hurts. Ignoring small bites and redirecting. Books about biting. Praise for correct behavior when there is no sign of biting.
I refuse to bite her back. She already has some self-harming behaviors. Head banging is the behavior of choice right now, but she will bite herself. And even if she wasn't self-harming, I still have issues with biting a child.
I'm frustrated. I can't leave the girls alone for even a second because Claire will hurt Bridget. I know that kids are forgiving when they are young, but there will come a time when Claire's friends won't forgive her for biting them, and this needs to stop long before then. I just don't know what else to try.