Kids Ignoring Instructions?

Use body language to improve communication with your kiddo

Did you know that 70–90% of our communication is nonverbal? Body language and tone of voice communicate more than words alone.

Body language is part of non-verbal communication used by both animals and people. Part of body language is done subconsciously, and you might not have any idea that you are behaving in a certain way. While you may think your kiddo isn’t listening to you, they are keenly observing your body language, so it matters!

Have you ever wondered when your kiddos will finally follow instructions? Do you expect them to have a positive response to the directions you give them? Or ever wondered how you can make them better listeners? The answer is here, my friend!

As parents and educators, we spend so much time dishing instructions and directions to children. So, it is frustrating when they choose to ignore or not do what we’ve instructed them to do. It’s time we put into consideration the non-verbal ways we communicate with our children, because that’s the missing puzzle piece here. More so, think of how we can positively influence their communication skills while also getting them to listen.

The eye rolls, hunched shoulders, and arms crossed affect how they process information, listen, act, and even speak to others. It’s important to remember that what we say won’t always resonate with them, but how we convey the message absolutely does.

With that being said, we’ll look at how we can use body language to improve communication and get kids to listen the first time asked.

Some Facts about Body Language

It is all about communicating using our behavior. You can tell a person’s state of mind or attitude just by their body language. You see whether they are attentive, bored, amused, relaxed, or even intoxicated. It can either be conscious or unconscious.

We have both positive and negative body language, too. When engaging our kiddos, we have to intentionally use positive body language as it shows interest in the conversation you’re having.

Let’s look at what can be interpreted as positive and negative body language.


Leaning closer
This helps in breaking down barriers as it brings people closer, reducing the distance. When a kiddo is speaking, lean closer to them to show interest.

Relaxed posture
This shows there are no barriers to communication. You have relaxed breathing, no stiffness or hasty movement, and you’re comfortably seated.

When you nod as your kiddo is talking, you show agreement, understanding, and interest in what they are saying. It tells you’re paying attention to the key things they are saying. However, don’t simply bob your head, as they can tell when you’re tuning out.

Making eye contact
Looking in a person’s eye shows that when they are speaking, you’re paying attention and you’re interested in what they’re saying. It also makes people feel loved, worthy, and important. Imagine what the opposite effect might be.

Easier said than done, I know. It does make a huge difference and actually helps you to reduce stress, so it’s worth a shot!

Warm gestures
Talk with your hands using more open palms. This radiates conversation openness to the other person. Hand on their shoulder might also help. That light pressure can be calming….or triggering.

Always remember….. doing any of these things in exaggeration converts them from positive to negative.

Professor, brain coach, book devourer. I use a neuroscience-based approach to reduce stress, and diminish behaviors. Find me: