Children don’t often think about what their bodies are doing when someone is talking to them. But it can often appear rude if they are jumping around or using negative body language during conversations, particularly as they get older. It’s not quite the behaviour we want. We prefer that they show they are interested and engaged in a conversation by making sure their bodies are doing the right or the polite thing.
Helping Children to Be Body Aware
Children can be helped to become more body aware. Get them to think about which way their body is facing when they are listening. Is it towards the person they are having a conversation with? Are their arms on their hips which can look slightly aggressive or arrogant? Are they moving around or shuffling their feet?
As parents, we can show them how to stand by practicing with them at home. Have their arms loosely at their sides, their body facing you and leaning in slightly. It looks so much friendlier when they are doing this.
Encourage your child to keep their body fairly still when they are talking to you, and help them keep focus rather than looking around or fidgeting. It’s a great idea to get your younger children into good habits. Maybe add a bit of humour if they keep forgetting, and say “Hey, I am over here!”. It gets the message across in a fun way.
We don’t often think about what our bodies are doing when chatting, but it is just as important as what our face is doing and what we are saying. Body language is just another element of communication, so help your child to become more aware of it.