My toddler won’t make eye contact!
Appropriate eye contact plays a vital role in nonverbal communication. Individuals who can maintain good eye contact proves self-confidence and honesty. Mastery of use of emotions helps communicate people understand you are carefully listening to them. It shows you are interested in what they are talking about, this encouraging them to share more.
A parent should be responsible for teaching their children good eye contact as one of the healthiest and necessary communication skills. Such communication skills help to form a healthy relationship between your toddler and the family or the strangers. A toddler who will not make eye contact at any given situation needs lessons that will help her adjust to the vital communication tool.
What causes a toddler not to make eye contact?
Children may avoid making eye contact due to various reasons, and identifying the reason why your child will not make eye contact when angry or with a stranger is a step to finding the solution. Anger and fear mostly cause many toddlers to avoid eye contact either because they don’t want sympathy, or they have an emotional disturbance.
Again, some might be symptoms of a particular disorder happening when they are upset. In other cases, it is a matter of culture not to stare at strangers or older people. In any case, thus, a parent should tell what is happening with the child.
How can I encourage my toddler to make eye contact?
Improve your eye contact. Toddlers often learn their character traits from their parents or close contacts. Teach your toddler how to improve his eye contact by demonstrating decent eye contact yourself. When you are communicating with her or other people, make sure you apply eye contact effectively. Let your child be there to watch and learn it as a necessity. Avoid engaging in other activities such as watching television or browsing through your phone.
Your child may find it unnecessary to keep eye contact during conversations. Regardless of the situation, happy or angry, keep eye contact until your child gradually learns it. Whenever your child is addressing anyone, whether upset, angry, or jovial, get down at his level and face his eyes. Although it looks unhealthy and irritating, he will soon learn how necessary it is. In the beginning, he may find difficulty, and maybe he gets more upset, but with time he will get used to it. The next time he is angry or meets a stranger, he will openly look them at the face.
Deal With Sensory Stimuli
If your child is not practicing eye contact, it may not be that he is stubborn. Sometimes it might be the problem with a sensory challenge. Some toddlers will feel it itching when they hear some sounds.
These sounds of a rolling wheel, scratching on the wall, the sound of a broken chair, among others, may affect your child wholly. As a parent, you should understand the condition of your child and keep them off from them. Some situations will be too dangerous when your child is affected by normal sounds such as clapping, whistling, and hitting a drum. In such cases, it is always advisable to expose your children when they are in good moods.
Once the situation of keeping eye contact becomes worsened, maybe it is time to change the environment of the child. Some environmental conditions, such as too much light from a fluorescent bulb, may cause your child to face elsewhere during the conversation.
Promote a Toddler’s Self-Esteem
Positive and robust self-esteem helps control anger and enhances confidence. A child who knows she is able and has no fear will find it easy to maintain eye contact. Let your child know eye contact is an essential communication skill which should be applied every time. Whenever your child takes a few seconds to keep eye contact with a stranger, congratulate her.
Make her feel she did something right. She will want to practice them more, and before you realize, she will be perfect in communication skills. Point out your toddlers’ abilities and let her feel she is healthy and able. Making your child feel like she is a failure will keep her emotionally off. Try to deal with what upsets her. Let her open to you and give you possible solutions.
Seek Therapeutic Help
In some circumstances, therapeutic help may be the only way to increase your toddler’s eye contact. Seeking help from occupational experts teaches your toddlers ways to repeatedly and appropriately react to the sensory stimuli that overwhelm. When a toddler has such a disorder, she could avoid eye contact in an attempt to keep people distance. Therapy helps her to be more comfortable with the emotive attachments generated by maintaining eye contact.
Looking at Your Toddler’s Eyebrows
If your child cannot look into the eyes of a stranger, then teach her how to look in between the eyebrows. To the stranger, it will seem she is directly looking at his eyes, but the child necessarily doesn’t have to do it. By the time, your child will be able to maintain eye contact with the stranger and at all conditions.
Parents should talk to their toddlers when addressing the challenges affecting them. Making your child your friend will make her open up and thus sharing all she is facing. Ask your child what she hates and why. Consider knowing if there are specific strangers your child cannot face, or it is everyone. It can be surprising to know there is something that transpired between your child and the person you think is a stranger.
Therefore, teaching your toddler how to manage anger will make him face you or caregiver and express their anger. Once he is in danger, he will not fear to let you know. Teaching your kid to deal with sibling and friends’ conflict will be an added advantage. These are mostly the people who will cause him anger or make him feel insecure. Solving the challenge, therefore, is a milestone towards achieving the joy, confidence, and strength of your child. Thus, the ability to maintain good eye contact.