Non-verbal is the first type of communication a child can exhibit. Expressions, gestures, eye contact, and body movement are the aspects of non-verbal communication that a child can employ to express emotions, feelings, desires, or thoughts. Thus, educators are to understand such cues and respond to them accordingly. Working with children implies the formation of a connection, interaction, and reading of the non-verbal aspects of their expressive illustrations of wants and needs. In this paper, the importance of understanding the role of non-verbal communication while working with children will be discussed in relation to perceiving emotions, creating comfortable conditions, and interacting with special-needs individuals.
Understanding one’s emotions is an efficient way for an educator to form a connection with a child. According to researchers, just as adults can perceive the child’s inner feelings by paying attention to their gestures and facial movement, a child can perceive the same information in a similar way (Valentini et al., 2019). Thus, it is a two-way communication process in which the participants can interact. An educator can comprehend when a child feels upset and comfort them or change certain external factors affecting the individual’s well-being. At the same time, the child can tell when an action is upsetting the educator and change specific behavioral aspects that have led to non-verbal expressions of disapproval. Hence, understanding non-verbal communication facilitates the formation of a relationship between the child and educator in which both parties try to come to a common understanding solely by reading silent cues.
Creating Comfortable Conditions
Another aspect illustrating the importance of understanding the role of non-verbal communication is the correlation with the possibility of creating comfortable circumstances for the child. According to researchers, certain non-verbal cues represent one’s perception of external factors. For example, a straight posture highlights confidence and approachability, while a child with a different posture can show insecurity (Rochmah et al., 2020). An educator can perceive such information and create circumstances in which the student feels more included and willing to interact. These include having private discussions, removing certain disruptors, and making sure the individual is comfortable. Thus, the child becomes more confident and is ready to listen to directions, be an active part of a lesson, and be open to communicating.
Interacting With Children with Special Needs
Non-verbal communication, in some cases, is the only way a child can express opinions and thoughts. One example is children with hearing impairments. Moreover, in some cases, children on the autistic spectrum are non-verbal, which is also a reason why teachers have to understand the importance of expression in a non-verbal manner (Franchini et al., 2018). The vital implications of understanding body language, gestures, and facial expressions allow the educator to form a connection with different children despite their differences in how they communicate. As a result, the classroom becomes an inclusive platform in which different voices are heard despite them potentially being silent.
The importance of understanding the role of non-verbal communication when working with children allows teachers to interact with students, meet their needs, and create circumstances in which they feel comfortable expressing their opinions and thoughts. Educators are then able to understand children’s emotions, adapt to the external environment to create more favorable conditions, and include each participant in classroom activities despite their medical conditions. As a result, communication is two sides, and each child is listened to and understood.
Franchini, M., Duku, E., Armstrong, V., Brian, J., Bryson, S. E., Garon, N., Roberts, W., Roncadin, C., Zwaigenbaum, L., & Smith, I. M. (2018). Variability in verbal and nonverbal communication in infants at risk for autism spectrum disorder: Predictors and outcomes. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48(10), 3417–3431.
Rochmah, S. N., Swandhina, M., & Maulana, R. A. (2020). Child gesture as a form of non-verbal communication. Proceedings of the 1st International Multidisciplinary Conference on Education, Technology, and Engineering (IMCETE 2019).
Valentini, M., Mancini, M., Raiola, G., & Federici, A. (2019). Digital and non-verbal communication in preschool: A systematic review. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise – 2019 – Spring Conferences of Sports Science.