Ever heard of the phrase “listen with your eyes and ears?” When it comes to communication, we listen with our ears for verbal cues and we listen with our eyes for nonverbal cues such as physical appearance. Communication helps us develop meaningful relationships with others but being able to better understand the other person’s nonverbal cues helps us have a deeper connection with them. Body gestures are one of the nonverbal cues parents and other caring adults should always look out for in their children.
Spend time with a child to learn his or her physical gestures or behaviors and match them to whatever emotion they are feeling at that moment. This will help you to quickly identify the child’s emotion. Remember, each child is unique and may express their feelings differently from each other. For instance, a child who throws his or her hands up in the air and runs off does not necessarily mean they are being defiant. It is very much possible that the child is feeling distressed or overstimulated in that moment. Understanding a child’s body language and nonverbal cues will help parents and teachers provide effective individualized care to the child that will help them regulate and take back control of their emotions.