Nursery 'excluding' a 17 month old for biting? WWYD?

(35 Posts)
pinkgirlythoughts Thu 08-Nov-12 19:39:49

We've had a bit of an issue with my son, aged 17 months, biting other children at nursery, which started a few weeks ago, then seemed to blow over. Although he's had a phase of biting at home in the past, he hasn't done it at home since he's started doing it at nursery. DP and I (and my sister, who is a nursery nurse) have never felt that nursery have handled the issue particularly well, phoning both DP and I whilst at work on the first occasion it happened, and immediately talking about what DP and I would do to resolve the situation, rather than what they were doing about. The nursery manager even mentioned having had to exclude a child in the past for biting.
Anyway, last week we were away on holiday, and since he's been back at nursery, he's apparently started biting again. Yesterday DP received another phone call at work to tell him about it, and today, less than two hours after I'd dropped DS off for the day, DP received a phone call saying he'd 'gone for' 5 children, and wasn't welcome in nursery tomorrow because of it.
Does that seem like an appropriate 'punishment' for a 17 month old? To me it seems like a total overreaction for a child who has no concept of what being 'excluded' (the nursery manager's word- he even mentioned 'not wanting to have to expel him) actually means, and by tomorrow won't even remember the fact that he bit someone, but maybe I'm just being precious? What would you ladies do in my situation?

DuelingFanjo Fri 09-Nov-12 11:08:01

When my son was about 20 months all the parents were sent a letter explaining that biting is a normal developmental issue in toddlers and sometimes our children may bite or get bitten. They said that if it happened the parent of the biter would be informed but the bitten child's parents would not be told who the biter was. Their method was to reinforce the idea that biting is not acceptable by telling no and removing the child who had bitten to another part of the room to do something else. It is all very gentle.

I think you are right to be upset with the way they have handled it and it may be an idea to ask them what their strategy is for dealing with a child who bites.

maybe show them something like this which says

"We will always inform the parents of the child that has bitten and explore
with them their strategy for dealing with such incidents if they occur at
home or elsewhere (If their strategy was a direct contradiction of our
strategy, e.g. Parent biting the child back, we would explain why we thought
this was an inappropriate response.)"

dribbleface Fri 09-Nov-12 11:40:50

It is utterly ridiculous of the nursery (and I speak as a nursery manager), they should be able to deal with this behaviour which is normal for toddlers. They should, in my opinion, be carefully logging all bites/attempted bites to see if there is a pattern, assigning your DS a shadow staff member to intervene quickly (this will not always stop a bite but helps limit and deal with them), working with you and informing you of how they are dealing with it at nursery.

I would be looking for another nursery and possibly reporting to Ofsted (this is standard stuff and exclusion is not the answer in your case)

Please do not think your DS is a monster, he's a typical toddler, who unfortunately is not being 'managed effectively by the nursery in terms of behaviour.

Karoleann Fri 09-Nov-12 13:49:22

I would also be complaining to OFSTED, how can a 17 month old be able to comprehend is actions. Most children go through the hiting/biting/kicking stage at some point and nursery should be able to deal with it.
Incidentally, two of my children only bit when they had a tooth coming (as it must have felt nice on their gum). Maybe some teething powder before nursery would be a good idea?

Nubbin Fri 09-Nov-12 13:59:10

Think they jumped the gun (and speaking as DM of a bitten rather than biter). At our nursery (private) a boy (approx 20 months) was consistently biting. He bit my dd 3x in one week (twice on the face) and hard enough to leave bruises. She was asleep for one so not retaliation. We were fine to start with (normal development could easily have been other way round). When it continued we got a bit more annoyed: the nursery tried time out, then 24 hour watch (i.e. he had to be with a nursery nurse at all times), then a play therapist (I think) before telling the parents that he wasn't suited for group care at that point and he needed one on one care until he was past that stage. Whole thing lasted about 6 weeks before nursery decided they tried everything and couldn't take the risk in group care. By this point dd was scared of boys coming near her as she assumed they would bite (luckily she was coming up to the age to go into the next room and they moved her up early).

To be honest, it sounds like the nursery is a bit crap more than anything else. Biting is something they should know how to deal with.

DS1 was forced to leave a nursery at around 2 because of biting. It was the nursery being crap. The cause of the biting was that the staff didn't like some of the boys and those boys started to act up (and bite, etc) because they were being treated badly by the staff. The staff then decided they were 'right' and the 3 boys were 'bad kids'. If I'd know then what I know now, I'd've have made a serious complaint to the Care Commission about it.

I changed him to a wonderful childminder, and then he went to nursery at 3, and there was never another biting incident again. The childminder said she couldn't understand what the nursery's problem was at all. DS1's behaviour was absolutely fine in a situation where he was listened to, cared for and felt valued. So, I guess the nursery did me a favour by 'excluding' him really.

Well, actually there was one memorable incident in which he was bitten. Apparently the staff in the second nursery put on the music from the lion king and the kids all started crawling around being lions and hyenas. One of the kids got a bit carried away in character as a hyena and bit DS1 on the bottom (and left teeth marks).

Nubbin: do you know the child's parents? Because if it wasn't them who told you, then the nursery have told you far too much about another child.

Nubbin Fri 09-Nov-12 14:08:35

I knew the parents - they ended up using my old childminder. He wasn't a 'naughty' or unpleasant child just couldn't be trusted at that age in a group setting unless there was someone on hand who could intervene before it happened every single time. Which the childminder did and problem was sorted in a couple of months.

Wiserimnotsure Tue 13-Nov-12 02:40:29

Hi I would like some opinions about comments made by nursery staff regarding recent biting behaviour of my 16m grandson. My daughter is a young mum and is really distraught over the whole thing. I'm trying to advise her and have explained all about learned behaviours etc as she had been thinking of biting him back herself - I am praying my advice so far has sunk in. The nursery staff however appear to be making this little innocent toddler to be some kind of bad boy which isn't helping. It was explained to my daughter that her 16 m had carried out an unprovoked attack on another toddler by biting them
, causing a billed to the face and which an incident form had to be completed. This has happened on around 4 occasions, first started just 2 to 3 weeks ago, but they are making out it is getting worse as in the last time it was more than one child that day he attacked. They suggest to my daughter to start keeping diary of times at home when he will bite. Today he bit me, I told my daughter how I dealt with it, in that immediately I changed my tone with him letting him know I was not happy and that what he done was wrong. He then looked at me shocked, fearful, lip trembling, to which I simply lessened the sternness in my voice but continued to say more gently "you don't do that, that's not nice to bite", still trying to show him love . He never did it again for rest of day and was an absolute angel. My question really though, apart from do you think I did the right thing is do you think the nursery staff are tackling this well by the way they are communicating the problem. Personally I think using words like unprovoked attack is extremely harsh, but wanted other opinions before I actually take this any further and suggest to my daughter for us both to go along to the nursery and question them . Many thanks for reading this. From a gran who feels absolutely heart broken at the thought of the little one being perceived as just bad and not nice boy

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 13-Nov-12 07:12:38

Wiser I think by unprovoked they simply mean that your GS wasn't hit, scratched, had a toy snatched first etc. what other word do you think they could use to convey this? Attack sounds a strong word, perhaps incident would have been better.

They have to do incident forms for their records, it's common practice.

If it happened more than once in a day, they do need to say so and it is a worse situation - that's an objective thing to say.

If they are a good nursery, they will not be thinking of him as a bad boy - it sounds like they are trying to work together with your DD. it's a good idea though for you to go in with her as it must be so hard for her to separate her emotional reaction from listening to what they nursery is actually trying to agree with her, a second pair If ears would be really helpful. Good luck with it.

mungojerrie Wed 14-Nov-12 13:51:05

'gone for' is a horrible phrase.

When our DD went through a spell of biting - nursery were fab. They reassured me how it was developmental, that it would reduce as her vocab grew (which it did) and put in place what they call an 'A B C' plan - Action (what was happening prior to Behaviour and what the Consequence was) It soon stopped.

They should not be excluded your son for this. They need to be able to manage his behaviour in their setting. I would not be happy with their actions to be honest.

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