Back-to-School Body Language

A simple lesson in body language could protect your kids from bullies.  Vanessa Van Edwards, author of "Human Lie Detection and Body Language 101," stopped by with her Back-to-Schoo Body Language tips.

You'll find more information about body language on the Science of People website.

Are there any body language tips for back to school time? Of course! Here are a few tips for parents to make the transition from summer to school easy.

Relaxation is Contagious

Most people don't realize that body language is contagious. Just like when you see someone yawn, you yawn. This is because of our mirror neurons. We have mirror neurons that like to copy those around us. So as the first day of school approaches be sure to keep yourself relaxed and calm. If you are nervous your kids will feel it. So when talking about school keep "relaxed body language" so your kids mirror that. What is relaxed body language:

  • Keep your shoulders loose
  • Use normal volume
  • Don't cross your arms
  • Head held high

Be Confident Before You Walk In

Most people don't know that not only do our emotions change our body language, but also our body language changes our emotions. Researchers from Harvard Business School have found that you have confident body language you begin to feel confident. If you have nervous body language you begin to feel nervous. So, before kids go to school consider pumping them up with the following tips. You can do this by playing some favorite music on the way to school or over breakfast to get kids loose and moving.

  • Smiling
  • Feet firmly planted
  • Hands above head or spread wide
  • Shoulders back and head up

Body Language for Bullies

What should a kid do if he or she has a bully? Above all else they want to avoid "victim" body language. This is the body language we all do when we lose a race or feel sad. Bullies sniff this body language out. What to avoid:

  • Head hung low
  • Body hug
  • Tucked feet
  • Knees turned in
  • Blocking behavior

Then there is winner body language and this is what kids should practice doing to show strength and confidence--remember it helps them feel this way too:

  • Find the sun (chest and head up).
  • Leave torso open
  • Shoulder width feet
  • Arms loose

Again, you mirroring good body language is best of all. We lead by example.
 

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