When your child is growing up, body language can be one of their most effective forms of communicating with you, especially when your children are at an early age and cannot speak yet. Picking up on body language cues can allow you to understand what your child needs from you. Better identifying your child’s important body language signs can make parenting a young child a breeze.
The Importance of Body Language
Body language can be equally, if not more, telling than verbal communication. Newborns and toddlers don’t always have the means to communicate, so they must rely on nonverbal cues. Knowing how to read your child’s body language signs will help keep them healthy and happy.
Our providers at HealthPark Pediatrics care for newborns to young adolescents. Our expertise in caring for children has allowed us to identify and educate parents on the meaning behind specific body language signs. Keep reading to learn how to recognize your child’s important body language signs.
Newborn Body Language Signs
At HealthPark Pediatrics, newborn or infant care is one of our primary services. While taking care of a newborn comes with a lot of excitement, it also comes with a lot of curiosity and uncertainty. Effectively reading nonverbal cues from a newborn will make your life as a parent much easier. Here are some significant body language signs from a newborn:
It’s common to see babies rocking their heads back and forth, otherwise known as “head-banging.” Typically, newborns exhibit this body language before bed or naptime. Therefore, this can be a sign of newborns being tired or attempting to rock themselves to sleep. If you notice your baby starting to head-bang, it may be time to put them down for a nap. Just be sure they have soft cushioning or blankets around them so they don’t bang their head on a hard surface.
- Clenching fists
Newborns tend to clench their fists, referred to as palmar grasp. It is a newborn reflex that usually goes away after 5-6 months. This nonverbal behavior stems from how babies clench their fists while in the womb. As newborns, this body language serves as a sign that they may be hungry or under stress. If this is one of your child’s important body language signs, try feeding or soothing them with their favorite song.
- Rubbing eyes
Rubbing your eyes is a universal sign of tiredness, even for newborns. Many parents easily spot this nonverbal cue. In most cases, it’s sending a message that it’s naptime. However, if you notice that their eye is red or seems irritated, it may be a sign that something is in their eye.
Age 2-4 Body Language Signs
Even if your children are at the age of speaking, they don’t always have the vocabulary to convey their feelings accurately. That’s where body language cues come into play. If your son or daughter is around the ages of 2-4, here are some of your child’s important body language signs:
- Tugging on you
If you’re raising a toddler, chances are you’ve experienced them tugging on your arm or pulling on your clothing. Before you misread this behavior as rude or disruptive, be aware of your surroundings when this action occurs. Your child likely feels uncomfortable if you’re in an unfamiliar environment or around new people. Next time your child showcases this body language, follow up with verbal communication to ask what they need or what’s causing them to feel nervous.
- Avoiding eye contact
If your little one is avoiding eye contact, many parents initially jump to the conclusion that they are being sneaky and attempting to hide whatever trouble they’ve created. However, this nonverbal behavior actually relays a sign of remorse or guilt. Although you may have a little troublemaker on your hands, there is a silver lining if they are avoiding looking you in the eyes. In this scenario, it’s best to remain calm and kind while disciplining your child.
- Pushing away from you
Contrary to your child tugging on you, it can be an underlying cry for independence or wanting to explore on their own if they start to push away from you. Every young toddler reaches a point where they want to feel like a “big kid.” Don’t take it personally; it’s a positive sign to see your child growing in a healthy manner.
Consult a Pediatrician
Raising newborns and toddlers brings a new surprise each day. Having a strong grasp of their nonverbal cues can enhance your parenting to a whole new level. You can start to predict your child’s feelings, so you can better respond to what they need. For further guidance on recognizing your child’s important body language signs, contact us at (919)896-7066.