In this age of tablets, Xbox Ones, PS4s, and Wii U, it can be nice to get some real face time (and not Facetime on your iPhone!). As adults, we often stress the importance of eye contact with our children, but we might not explain why looking at someone is important in a social interaction. So try this: the next time your child asks you a “yes” or “no” question (i.e., “Can I play Skylanders?”), do not respond with verbal language. Instead, wait until they take the time to look at you, then either shake or nod your head. If your child is having difficulty looking at you, make a noise to show that you are pondering his/her request, such as “hmmm,” which would be a cue to alert him/her to you and your response. That way, you have given your child a reason and opportunity to establish a line of non-verbal communication with you, and you can make their attention to you motivating by nodding your head to indicate, “yes – we can have another Mario Cart race” – or whatever else your child might be requesting.
Making eye contact is a basic social skill that leads to positive interactions with others. Many children just need a little help with grasping the skill of eye contact when speaking to others. If your child is experiencing difficulty making eye contact with other kids, we can help! We offer a variety of social skills group that focus on teaching children simple ways to improve their eye contact as well as improving other social skills. If you would like more information about our social skills groups or other services we office please contact us at (503) 352-0240.