Remind your child that people use more than just words to communicate their feelings. Help her develop the skills to correctly interpret body language. Talk about things like posture and hand gestures.
Point out from a distance which details you notice about people on the street or in other settings. Are they carrying themselves in a way that seems like they’re worked up about something? Or do they seem at ease?
Be as specific as you can. After you’ve shown your child what to look for, encourage her to make her own observations. Have some fun while you’re practicing this skill together. You can make a game of it and see which one of you comes up with the best story that explains why a person’s body language is giving off certain signals.
What you can say
“Sofia, while we’re at the mall today, let’s sit on one of the benches for a while and try to see which emotions people are showing by the way they look, gesture and walk. I find it hard sometimes to really understand how people are feeling just by what they say. Does that happen to you too?”
“It might be a fun game and maybe we’ll learn a thing or two about the different ways people can show their emotions. Then maybe we could do the same thing with the movie you told me you want to watch tonight.”
Why this will help
Kids with learning and attention issues may have trouble distinguishing which emotions people are showing. Nonverbal communication is a very important skill. Paying close attention to body language can help your child understand more of what she’s seeing and hearing. This, in turn, will help her navigate everyday social situations more successfully.