Charlie continues to bite at daycare.
They have started implementing an “action plan” which consists of writing her up whenever she does it “due to the length of time this behavior has been going on” and having me sign the paper when I pick her up. I fear this is the first step to kicking her out of school.
Other parts of the action plan include having her wear a teething ring on her wrist, having her wear a pacifier on her shirt and giving that to her when she bites (I doubt that will work… she has never had a pacifier and didn’t like it when I tried to switch her to one at 9 months).
The school is kind to me and explains in an understanding tone, but my anxiety shoots up anyway.
If I had to take her out of this school, I’d just have to put her in another… nothing much would change as far as her biting goes until she just grows out of it. So changing schools seems pointless for Charlie. I get the school’s point…. They can’t have kids being bitten frequently.
I don’t know what else to try. I have tried:
- giving her a daily morning reminder not to bite, and a daily verbal praise when I pick her up if she hasn’t bitten anyone all day
- sharply saying “no!’ when she bites me, and putting her in time out
- fake crying when she bites me to show her it hurts
- swatting her diapered bum once when she bit me so hard and it was an instinctive reaction to the pain. I also yelled out
- the school puts her in “cool down” (a version of time out) whenever she does it. They also tell her “no, that hurts” and make her hug the kid as an apology afterwards.
I have NOT tried:
- -biting her back. I hear mixed reviews of this. Some say it works instantly. Others say it’s hypocritical and abusive.
- - a behavioral chart. I wonder if she is too young to understand what that is…. Also, I’d have to get the school to do most of the rewards. She could get an M& M or sticker for every hour she doesn’t bite. It’s a lot of extra work for the staff and I wonder if they’d be willing to do it… Hmm… I think she just might "get it" if it was done on an hourly basis. A daily basis is too long for her age. I’m a total behaviorist as I know it works with the dogs and has worked in many ways with Charlie already… the chart would be a way to reward her when I’m not around. The punishment then becomes a lack of reward if she bites. No sticker.
The teachers say it happens at seemingly random times. Sometimes when she is wanting a toy. Sometimes when she is being affectionate. Sometimes there seems to be no precursor or reason.
Any advice moms? I’m at the end of my rope here. Between her illness and her biting, not a day goes by when I’m not tense and stressed out due to her. All the while, I’m falling deeply in love with her, which actually makes everything MORE important, urgent and all-consuming.
(Painting by Jon Baldwin)