Biting & Scratching

Policy Statement

Physical acts of aggression such as biting/hitting/scratching are amongst the biggest concerns voiced by parents. While its shocking when you child becomes physical, it’s not unusual behaviour for children of a young age. When children are overcome with emotions such as fear, anger, frustration or disappointment, for example because another child has a toy they want, they do not have the language to express themselves.

Many children go through stages in their development that others find unacceptable. Biting and scratching in particular is a very unpleasant form of behaviour. Temper tantrums are another form of behaviour that most children of a similar age or developmental stage go through. Happily, just as temper tantrums eventually diminish with age so, usually, does biting.


  • We will comfort the bitten/scratched child and administer appropriate first aid.
  • Explain to the biting/scratching child why it is unacceptable. Also removing the child from the circumstances that provoked the biting/scratching for a short period of time.
  • We will always inform the parents of the child that has bitten/scratched and discuss with them how they deal with such incidents if they occur outside Preschool.
  • We will notify the parent of the child that has been bitten but we will not disclose the identity of the child that has bitten, as it is vital to maintain confidentiality.
  • We will discuss the incident with all staff members so that the situation may be monitored.
  • In some cases where biting/scratching seems persistent it may be appropriate to enlist the help of other professionals e.g. Health Visitor to look closely at any other issues that may be causing the child to act in this way.
  • It is not our policy to exclude a child for this type of behaviour as it only removes the child and does not address the problem.
  • We would ask that the parents/carers have their child’s immunisations up to date including tetanus and hepatitis, as possible infections may occur if the bite/scratch breaks the skin.
  • The bitten area should continue to be observed by parents and staff for signs of infection.