Being able to read the body language of your child can be beneficial in a lot of ways. You can quickly understand what she is thinking of or feeling. Her deepest intentions and emotions, even when the child is too busy playing or involved to voice it out to you. Or is she unaware of what she is feeling A naturally observant parent tends to check whether the child’s body language is matching what she is saying or not? Which also helps to understand the child better.
So how do you read a child’s body language? Well, first rules first. Anytime when we feel comfortable towards something, we open ourselves up towards the thing, person, or thought. And when we don’t like something, we tend to move further away. This is the basic way our bodies react. Be it our own bodies or our children’s. But sometimes understanding body language might not be as simple for a simple reason – not all of us are very expressive. So the trick to good parenting is to be able to read body language in greater detail than just glancing past your child. Here is a simple exercise below:
What does this child’s body language reveal?
This is a pose typically displayed by our daughters almost instinctively when asked to smile for the camera. Of course, media has had a lot of influence on why small girls pose in such a manner like adults, but that is beside the point.
A child fronting her shoulder in this manner and looking at the camera is displaying a totally different behavior from the one below.
How about this girl’s body language?
Here again, the girl is fronting her shoulder to point towards the camera. The question for a parent then is – can you spot the difference?
Looking closing at the two pictures should reveal that when the girl in the first picture is fronting her shoulder to face the camera, she is also exposing her neck. Instinctively, we tend to hide our necks when we feel threatened since the neck hosts a bunch of very critical nerves and tracks. Any situation making one feel the need to defend oneself would make the neck disappear, which is what the girl in the second picture is doing. She has lifted both her shoulders up. This gives what is called a turtle effect.
Not necessarily she is seeing any high-risk threat, but her smile is also a social smile. And therein lies a clue that perhaps she is feeling a bit socially anxious with having her photograph clicked. Looking again at the girl in the first picture will tell you that she has not risen her shoulders. She is comfortable and experiencing no stress.
As parents, it is up to us to be able to tell minor differences in the body language of our children so that we can heed to their happiness and worries and be able to interact better with them. Your body language also plays a big role in the communication process with your kid. Kids do read body language and respond decisively.
Want to learn more? Invite us to deliver a talk or conduct a workshop at your premises!
Khyati Bhatt is the Founder and CEO of CueKids. She has trained for mastery in nonverbal communication with retired FBI special agent Joe Navarro. Khyati founded the company in 2019 after having successfully founded and led the main company Simply Body Talk since 2013. She has received international awards for business excellence and in often quoted in leading media on the topic of nonverbal communication.