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?

pinkgirlythoughts Thu 08-Nov-12 19:40:43

Sorry for long rambling post- I just feel completely confused at the minute!

It's tough though, if my child were being bitten, I would want nursery to protect him/her. Can you arrange to meet the manager and talk about how they and you can work together to deal with the issue? My dts were voters, luckily only bit each other at nursery, but it was awful, one would have bruises for days. I had to be very vigilant to catch before the bite, and I don't really know anything I did was successful. But it is a phase lots of children dp through. Your nursery needs a plan for how they will tackle it, and exclusion isn't a plan. If they can't come up with something better I can only suggest you find another nursery, because it can be a ling phase.

Sorry you're having to deal with this, must be very stressful.

Voters? Biters!

pinkgirlythoughts Thu 08-Nov-12 19:51:35

That's true, and he was bitten, scratched etc a few times by bigger children in the room when he first started. At the time, we just accepted that that kind of behaviour is just a phase that a lot of children go through, and assumed that the nursery would be dealing with the other child's behaviour appropriately. But now, seeing it from the other side of the table, it seems as though they aren't actually dealing with it particularly well sad

2cats2many Thu 08-Nov-12 19:52:45

I would find this totally unacceptable in your position. Exactly what do they think the exclusion is going to achieve except for stressing you and DH out?

You need to ask the nursery what their plan is for managing the biting so you can be consistent at home. If they don;t have a plan, or if their 'plan' is to carry on excluding your DS, then it might be time to look for another nursery.

5madthings Thu 08-Nov-12 19:52:52

The nursery sounds crap!!

How exactly are they dealing with it other than phoning you up?!!

Lots of toddlers ho through this phase and they should know how to deal with ut. He needs to be watched closely so they can intwrvene before it happens.

You need to tell him no and remove him from the situation tho he is too young for time out etc

EBDTeacher Thu 08-Nov-12 19:54:39

This is entirely, totally pointless if it's intended to shape your DS's behaviour as your DS will have absolutely no idea why he is not at nursery. He will not even think about whether or not he is at nursery. If your nursery think it will shape his behaviour then you need a new nursery pronto as they know very, very little about child development.

If it's just because they can't handle him and would just rather not have him there do you want him to be there?

I think you need to have a meeting with them and unless you get very positive vibes I would be looking for a new nursery or a childminder. They should be considering what is causing his behaviours, what the triggers are and how they can adapt the environment to improve his experience/ manage any risk. I think unless they are talking more about their practise than your DS's behaviour you need to hit the road running.

biffnbuster Thu 08-Nov-12 19:54:52

I have worked at a nursery and can't remember any staff phoning parents about their child biting. We would have looked at what could have caused the biting. I would think at that age it could be another child taking a toy of him, frustration at lack of speech, teething, that sort of thing. There should be a member of staff shadowing him, so they can get between him and the child he is going for at that particular time. Then say a firm "no biting", then swiftly move onto something else. Ask the staff for help in dealing with this .

That sounds extremely tough, though I get the point about protecting other children.
DD2 is 24 months and has started biting too. I have a meeting scheduled with nursery to talk about it on Monday so will gladly come back and share their input after that.

SamSmalaidh Thu 08-Nov-12 19:55:12

It sounds like the nursery are either unwilling or unable to deal with his behaviour, so I would look elsewhere.

Ideally, they need to assign 1:1 support to him while they work out what triggers the biting and to protect other children. If they are running on minimum staff then they probably can't do this.

DialMforMummy Thu 08-Nov-12 19:57:24

Wow, this is truly pointless and I might add that the nursery is unsupportive of you and your DC.
My DS is a bit of a biter and has bitten several times at nursery. When this happens, he is "punished" (put in a naughty corner and told off). At home, when this happens, we are very strict and do the same as nursery does. Everytime, I am told DS has bitten someone, I am mortified, but what else can I do?
Toddlers biting, slapping, pinching etc... are common and I'd expect professionals to have a consistent approach to dealing with this problem. Equally, I don't see the point of calling you at work to tell you that your DS has bitten someone. What are you meant to do drop everything and get him? hmm
I'd look for another nursery, one that is not shy with dealing with problems that are inherent to the children's age group.
Seriously, excluding a child for biting... angry Do they think it is going to solve the issue?

BackforGood Thu 08-Nov-12 20:04:33

Sounds like a terrible Nursery, so I would certainly start looking around for better options. All Nurseries look after children who go through phases of biting. There are all sorts of things you can do to try and work through it, but excluding the child isn't one of them! Ask them to explain how that is helping to modify his behaviour ?
Ask them if they have spoken to their Area SENCO / Inclusion Officer / Local Authority Support Teams, and gone through the proper procedures for working with a child who needs a bit of extra support at this stage of his development.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 08-Nov-12 20:04:46

When my nursery had a biting issue, they worked with the affected parents, got an educational consultant in to sign off their plan, kept all parents updated(without naming the biter of course) and stressed that as long as they felt parents were working with them, exclusion would be a last resort.

Exclusion isn't meant as punishment just to protect other children but it is a really bad first line strategy. There may be some research on best policies available on the Internet- worth a google?

Have you got a copy of your nursery's policies?

TempusFuckit Thu 08-Nov-12 20:12:52

Christ, if they exclude every child who bites they'll lose half their customers very quickly.

No child expert here, but my DS went through two very brief biting phases. The nursery discussed how they were handling it, gave me a sheet detailing age appropriate ways of handling it at home then monitored him closely until it stopped. He's also been badly scratched by other kids, and I'd be horrified if they had been excluded - this kind of thing just happens.

EugenesAxe Thu 08-Nov-12 20:13:26

I agree that the nursery sounds crap... everything you and others have said about lack of understanding at 17m seems right.

It seems to me that it's an attention thing (playing up again straight after a lot of M&D time), although I doubt you could do anything about it... playing lots with him when you are together may make his indignation at being left in nursery worse.

Nursery need to separate him without drama IMO, so he gets bored of doing it. They also need to ensure he's well stimulated.

RyleDup Thu 08-Nov-12 20:17:01

Ermm, are you paying for the days your child is excluded?

I would look for another nursery. They don't sound as though they are dealing with things very well.

Viviennemary Thu 08-Nov-12 20:20:30

It is difficult for you. However, I would not want to send my children to a nursery where they were in danger of being bitten. If it was a one off then OK these things happen. But you would think the nursery staff would be trained to cope with this. Would he not be better at another nursery because he might be happier there. I don't think exclusion can be looked at in any way as a punishment. But parents could create a dreadful fuss if their child is bitten.

procrastinor Thu 08-Nov-12 20:20:52

Well that's just ridiculous. Exclusion is to allow a child to realise the brevity of a situation. How on earth is a 17 mo expected to do that?! I was mortified when my DS bit my CM's son (there was a three month age gap between them - her son being older than mine). She took it in her stride and worked with me in tackling it (telling him off when he moved forward to bite, putting him down and walking away). It happened on occasion but we both realised that this is just something that will happen - on one occasion we realised they had matching bite marks on their shoulders! it petered out and at 22 months he hasn't bitten in ages.

TiggyD Thu 08-Nov-12 20:22:16

Exclusion is a last option when other parents are threatening to remove their children.

The nursery needs to look at what happens before the behaviour. What causes it. Ask them if they've kept any records. Maybe he bites at certain times of the day, possibly when tired? Is it certain children? Is it always a sharing issue? etc.

What happens during the behaviour. Is he monitored when near other children or when they think there is liable to be a problem?

After the behaviour. Are there negative consequences for his actions that he can understand?

They need to observe and put some kind of plan into action for a couple of weeks and see what happens. But basically, the nursery seems shit and you should look for a good one.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 08-Nov-12 20:34:57

Vivienne my child wasn't one of the biters and I was very happy with how the nursery handled it.

What if DS starts to realise mum or dad collects him early if he bites and it makes it worse?

Viviennemary Thu 08-Nov-12 20:57:02

I didn't mean to sound judgey. And wasn't blaming the child at the age of 17 months. But I think these days nurseries do have to be extra careful with recording 'incidents' and so on. And dealing with any complaints from parents if their child is bitten.

Yika Thu 08-Nov-12 21:04:24

Gosh quite shocked to hear this. Aty nursery we were told at some point 'this is the age at which children may bite, this is how we will deal with it'. Can't remember the details except that the name of the biter would never be revealed to any bitee's parents. I never encountered a biting incident but I liked their approach and it certainly did not include exclusion, I find that simply incredible.

Fizzypop001 Fri 09-Nov-12 00:24:54

Can't believe the nursery let your dd bite 5 kids where they not watching seems to me they are doing other things rather then looking after the kids I would find another nursery that will be happy to support you and your family it's the nurseries fault that your dd was allowed to bite 5 kids unbelievable they should have stopped him my dd been at nursery for 1 year and has only been bitten once and they are lovely but what you describe is out of order and are very unsupportive Please find another nursery their are others out there that will help you

Mandy21 Fri 09-Nov-12 11:01:44

I'm on the other side of the fence I'm afraid - if I was sending my child to nursery where the same child was biting - over quite a long period (you mentioned weeks in your post) and that even when staff were in the room with him and in a 2 hour period he'd tried to bite 5 other children, I'd see that as a real risk. I don't take it from your post that its a punishment for your child, its a way of protecting the other children in the nursery. With the best will in the world, he can't be watched every second of every minute which means there is a risk to the other children. Yes, I think its down to the nursery in conjunction with you as parents, to sort it out, and it doesn't sound as if thats been done properly, but I suppose the alternative is to have a nursery nurse with him constantly (not sure you can expect this), have him playing on his own until this 'phase' blows over (not sure you'd want that) or have him at home until you can sort out why he's doing it.

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