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Suspended from nursery at 17 months

(28 Posts)
MrsCurly Sat 12-Mar-05 21:39:25

I've put off writing about this as I've been very upset and angry about it all, as well at times as finding it all almost funny (if it wasn't really happening), but a reply on another thread has given me heart, so here goes, and I'd really appreciate your opinions please.

Two and a half weeks ago, my 17 month old daughter was temporarily excluded from nursery for repeated biting. I went to collect her one evening and was asked not to bring her back the next day. She will be off in total for five and a half weeks, although the last two weeks is a planned holiday.

The owner asked me to keep her away, without consulting the nurses who actually look after her. As I left that evening all the nurses were saying goodnight and see you tomorrow.

I've tried over the last week to get a meeting with the owner, the manager and my daughter's key worker, but they haven't got back to me.

In my mind it is completely mad. I can't see how not being at nursery is magically going to teach her not to bite. She isn't capable of understanding why she isn't going. I was happy with her nursery up til now, but I've lost all my confidence in them. I also know that the suspension is because of one parent's complaints - in a previous conversation with the owner about the biting problem she said just as long as my daughter doesn't bite xxx again as the parents have complained so angrily.

Has any one heard of this happening to anyone else? How do other nurseries deal with it?

(and thanks Hercules for your message on the other thread)

SoupDragon Sat 12-Mar-05 21:47:37

It's a very tricky one. On one hand I'd say that it's ridiculous but on the other, if your child had been repeatedly bitten you would want something done.

It would have been better to have come up with some sort of strategy such as distracion to sort it out I guess.

flashingnose Sat 12-Mar-05 21:52:03

Agree with SD - probably a good idea for your dd to have a break, but the nursery should have a clear strategy in place, discussed with you beforehand. Those parents may be jumping up and down now, but it could be their little darling doing the biting in a few months time.

motherpeculiar Sat 12-Mar-05 21:54:39

it is tricky - but I think up to the nursery to handle it better than this

also think it is very bad that the nursery haven't returned your calls, indeed they should have been as eager as possible to come up with a strategy to deal with this in a more reasonable manner

I know it is absolutely horrible for your child to be bitten in nursery, it's happened to my DD, but I would never expect the biter to be excluded - especially at your DDs age. They are tots, they need help to learn these things, not draconian punishments

I think I'd be looking for another nursery tbh, I'd find this extremely disheartening

sorry

MrsCurly Sat 12-Mar-05 22:11:29

I can completely understand the parents' distress - my daughter has also been bitten, and the number one thing we all want when we leave our children to go to work is that they are safe. But if I was the parents who complained I wouldn't be satisfied with a temporary exclusion. When the five weeks are up and my daughter is back (if she goes back) she's just as likely to bite again. I have no confidence that the nursery has a good strategy to deal with this.

I wrote to the parents, btw, but heard nothing back.

(And of course this all happens while I'm on my own - husband is away for five weeks, family at other end of the country, I'm working pretty much full time).

Trying to find another place but it's hard at such short notice...

coppertop Sat 12-Mar-05 22:17:38

It seems very harsh for a 17mth-old IMHO. She's not much more than a baby!

My ds1 has been bitten and has also been the one doing the biting. The staff told me the strategies they wanted to try. We discussed them and I agreed to use the same methods if the biting happened at home. Surely the staff at your dd's nursery should have a similar policy???

pinotgrigio Sat 12-Mar-05 22:19:11

Oh what a shame. I can't believe that you and DD have been treated this way. At 17 months your DD is far too young to understand her actions. Suspension is ridiculous and seems to be soley to placate the bitee's parents. Personally I would feel that this nursery isn't the place for me, if they don't have better solutions in place. As "childcare professionals" they should be quite used to biting in under 2s and have ways of dealing with it. Surely their staff should be held responsible for not nipping this in the bud anyway?

I really feel for you and DD - exclusion just isn't right in this instance.

Jimjams Sat 12-Mar-05 22:42:41

utterly utterly ridiculous.

My son went through a phase of scratching at nursery (and has been pinching at school this week aggh) and a strategy was agreed and set up. It worked. If he had been singling out a particular child they would have been separated.

I was owrried about being accostd by another parent when it was going on (he was scratching everyone basically)) and the nursery manager toold me to send them straight to her if I had any problems and she'd "put them straight".

maisystar Sat 12-Mar-05 23:00:59

i agree, ridiculous. your poor dd won't have a clue what is going on. surely it is a stge she is going through and maybe needs to be closely supervised for a while(for everyones peace of mind).

very strange......

Fran1 Sat 12-Mar-05 23:02:54

Outrageous! I have worked inseveral nurseries and met millions of children who go through the biting stage. Never ever would i have dreamt of suspending them from nursery. DISCRIMINATION.

It is the nurseries responsibility to prevent the biting from happening, by working one-to-one with your child, working out what causes it and taking away that cause (it could be boredom or frustration) so they need to restructure her day to prevent this.

When i had biters in the nursery, they became my "assistant" and at busy times of the day when less staff attention was on children, i would take the child out to do "jobs" with me, such as laying the tablesfor lunch, do some photocopying in the office, sweep the floors etc. This allowed the staffin the room to get what they needed done, so thenwhen the child returned there would be someone free to stay close to the child and get in there before they bite.

This is so outrageous to suspend a child of that age, but i'm too out of touch now to know if they are "allowed" to do it.

If i were you i would speak to ofsted and your local childcare info service and find out if they are allowed to do it.

when you meet with the manager, ask them what actionthey had taken to stop/prevent the biting prior to taking such drastic action as to suspend a child.

Phew! this makes me

unicorn Sat 12-Mar-05 23:04:34

first reaction is .. whaaaattttt??

second is..Is this a private nursery - and will you get money reimbursed for this nonsese?

third is..please get your child into a better nursery - this one sounds ridiculous.

beccaboo Sat 12-Mar-05 23:23:00

I agree too, children of this age do bite, and personally I think it's part of the rough & tumble of childhood, as long as they don't draw blood .... .

It sounds like the nursery might be a bit prissy? It's not exactly a new problem. Far more of a reflection on their skills than on your daughter in my opinion.

sallys Sun 13-Mar-05 10:18:06

I've just found this thread and I can't believe what I'm reading!! At 17 months your dd doesn't know whats right and wrong. The nursery should be firm with her and tell her no but then distract her. When she plays with the other children nicely they should be making a real fuss of her and saying what a good girl she is. Grrr! Obviously the other parents are going to be upset if this has happened a few times- but its not your fault the nursery should deal with it. Grrr Grrr!

sallys Sun 13-Mar-05 10:43:40

Also wandering what branch of the Mickey Mouse School of childcare Nursery staff had attended

ScummyMummy Sun 13-Mar-05 11:15:43

Gosh. How utterly ludicrous. Does she bite particularly savagely or something? What kind of staff are these who can't handle a 17 m.o. biting? I really can't think of anything you can do except get any money you are owed and change nurseries. Oh, and report them to ofsted on the grounds that they are completely incompetent. Honestly, I've rarely heard of anything so silly. Poor you, MrsCurly.

KarenThirl Sun 13-Mar-05 11:51:04

This is awful. Why should your ds be punished simply because the nursery staff aren't capable of dealing with a normal developmental hiccup? I think I'd keep her away from the place until they have a strategy in place for helping her to learn not to do it - there are dozens of techniques they could adopt, I'm sure, but it's not right for her to be there and supposedly 'learning' in a facility that can't cope. Do they seriously expect all 17 mos to be perfect?!

lars Sun 13-Mar-05 13:30:47

I think their lack of response to you is very unprofessional as you are trying to resolve this.
I cannot beleive they could exclude for this but not doubt their use ' the safety of the other children line'.

It appears schools and nurseries like the line of exclusion if they can't deal with a problem. I think I would look for another nursery as they do not appear to be dealing with this professionally.
I did remember a boy in play group keep biting children, it was a phase and he was never excluded.I think the parent of the child who has been bitten by your child, appears to have no understanidng at all. I think she has made a right fuss and the nursery are finding it difficult to deal with this situation.

I would find out your legal rights here and quote to nursery, as surely an exclusion should only last for so long and have you anything in writing from the nursery??
In the mean time look around for another nursery who may have a different approach and help you overcome this. Good luck Larsxx

MaryP0p1 Sun 13-Mar-05 14:21:05

This is outrageous. I would have a real problem with the way the nursery are dealing with your child. Lots of children bite, stratch and hit and it is often because of difficulties with communication. Around 2 is a common time it often because they are just understanding that children are people and they are wanting their own way but don't have the language/social skills to enable them to get that. Everywhere I have worked when we have had moe physical children we have ensured there is a member of staff allocated to that child to ensure they don't do the unwanted behaviour and show them how to play/get what they want communicate their needs. It seems to me the manager of the nursery doesn't want to pay for that member of staff to do this and I would be looking for an alternative nursery and complaining to OFSTED about the treatment of your daughter. It shows to me, more of an interest in money than an understanding of children and their needs.

Sorry, rant over, nurseries like that give a bad name to good nurseries and nursery staff.

PotDog Sun 13-Mar-05 14:23:12

I had the same biting issue with my dd and can offer a bit of advice for when you are over the (laughable) ban!
My dd was biting around 2-3 times per week. Once her coat was hung up at the nursery I got her to repeat after me, line after line and like a nursery rhyme - no hitting, no biting, no kicking, no spitting but lots of hugs & kisses for everybody.
It may sound twee but from the first day of doing it she has never bitten again.

tron Sun 13-Mar-05 14:24:54

i agree with the others - it's really disgustin.

my ds is 3 now and has just started state bursey (he is the youngest there) there is another little boy who is a biter and my ds has come home with bite marks (he's deffinately no angel himself) The other boy and my ds just don't get on and are vVERY strong willed - the teachers have just started keeping a closer eye on them when in the class - they have their play times at different times too now - i don't think they would consider suspending this other boy because of it - at 3.5 they know it's wrong but at 17 months it's just something to get attention just like crying or shouting - find another nursery -there must be more out there - or a childminder - it really doesn't seem fair atall!

wordsmith Sun 13-Mar-05 14:27:57

This just reinforces my opinion that
a) Nursery owners know nothing about children and
b) They never bother to discuss things with their, usually great, staff.
(Bit of a generalisation I know but an observation from experience!)
If I were you I'd try and find a new nursery.

Tommy Sun 13-Mar-05 14:35:05

just read this and suddenly realised that your DD is younger than my DS and ther's NO WAY he would understand a punishment like that. Surely they should be reinforcing what you are doing to stop the biting. I used to say "No Biting" very firmaly and loudly and they soon go the message. I would be looking for a new nursey place if I were you - I wouldn't want my child in a place that punishes babies like that.

MrsCurly Sun 13-Mar-05 21:11:07

What other strategies do nurseries use to deal with this? (And thanks Fran1 for your comments on this - very useful.)

Before the suspension the staff at nursery said they were removing her from the situation and telling her it wasn't nice to bite, and that I should enforce this at home. (Unfortunately they used to put her in the book corner which isn't ideal as she is obsessed with books....). They said they would watch out for it, and I know they intervened often just in time. They also said a lot that there wasn't a lot they could do, a lot of kids bite and it will pass.

When I spoke to the owner on the fateful evening , I did ask how they had dealt with it before, and she said they had never had such a problem go on for so long; usually it passed much sooner. (This makes it sound like she bit everyone all the time, but I don't think it was more than a dozen times over six months).

So I'd be interested in how other people and other nurseries handle it.

Thanks for all your replies so far. I feel much better for posting.

Fran1 Mon 14-Mar-05 00:17:04

TBH, if a parent was upset about their child getting bitten by another child, they would complain to us for allowing it to happen, not feel any anger towards the child who did the biting. Righfully so, they expected us to get in their and stop it happening.

OK if biting has continued for some time, they should speak to the parents (as they did) and together draw up a plan to discourage the child from biting.

Observations should take place, to establish the cause. E.g they should note time/date/which child got bitten/and notes about the biting childs wellbeing at the time, such as tired/upset/hungry/had toy taken away etc etc

Then you should see a pattern form, and the staff should make every possible attempt to stop it from happening.

It is surprisingly easy to stop once it is thought through logically and an action plan in place.

They also need to be asking themselves, are the activities stimulating enough for your child? I don't know what age groups they are in, but would she benefit from short periods of play with the older children? Do they get enough physical play in the day in the garden etc?

It is just absolutely outrageous that they can pass the blame to your dd and suspend her when they soooooo need to look at their own behaviour management skills.

Please please don't let this go. Speak to ofsted, speak to your local council, write to your local paper, let them realise what they have done.

FairyMum Mon 14-Mar-05 07:06:40

My DS1 used to bite for at least a year. Some children bite, others scratch or push others over. I suppose nursery dealt with it like you describe and would always inform me if DS1 had bitten. Of course he is also bitten or pushed sometimes. He is now 3 1/2 and still comes home with bite marks from time to time, so some children obviously continue to bite when they get older too or he has been swimming with sharks..he he. To me this is completely normal toddler behaviour although it must of course be discouraged, but this takes time. It's totally ridiculous to suspend your child. I have never heard of it happening before. I would move nursery, but that's probably easier said than done.

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