Engaging in positive communication with children plays a vital role in their development.

The Impact of Nonverbal Communication on a Child's Development

by Martha Holden

Early Childhood Colorado, an online resource for issues related to development and health of children, reveals that infants would weigh 170 pounds at the age of 1 month old if their bodies grew at the same pace as their brains do. Between the ages of 0 and 3, they usually encounter the fastest rate of brain development among humans. Part of this brain development is evident when your child engages in communication through nonverbal or verbal means. Nonverbal communication will affect his development in numerous ways.

Avoid Behavioral Issues

Nonverbal communication can be a deterrent to behavioral issues that may plague your child later in life. When your child engages in effective nonverbal communication with you, other family members or children, this is an indicator that he is less likely to grapple with behavioral issues in the future, according to the Brain Balance Achievement Center. Examples of such problems include autism or Aspergers. The source of these complications is the right-hand side of your kid’s brain, which normally controls nonverbal communication.

Enhance Communication Skills

Children become effective communicators by conversing with other people nonverbally, which is their first language before they start speaking. As an infant, your kid relies on cues, such as squealing, crying, grimacing or smiling to communicate his feelings to you. According to the National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families, his communication skills will improve when you respond to his nonverbal talk. For example, when your child spreads his arms to you and you pick him up, it tells him that communication is important and inspires him to continue developing these skills.

Low Self-Esteem

Negative nonverbal communication from you can foster low self-esteem in your child. For example, he may come home to show you a picture he drew in school but you are too engrossed in your chores to pay attention. Such a scenario makes him think that you are disinterested in his achievements and damages his self-esteem, according to How Kids Develop, a collaborative effort by the San Diego Community to provide answers to the needs of children. Positive nonverbal cues, such as winking or smiling, boosts his self-esteem and shows that you care about him.

Poor Role Model

Your negative nonverbal cues could impact your child’s development into a poor role model. Such cues may have been acquired from your parents, which you then transfer to communicating with your child. According to Healthy Children, many parents in America have not been good role models to their children as far as communication is concerned. In turn, your child may adopt your negative nonverbal communication and later relate to his children in this manner. It is important to discard such cues to develop effective communication with your children and mold them into role models.

About the Author

Martha Holden began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous publications. Holden holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Houston.

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