A Confident Child: It Starts with Eye Contact

When I was at a Neiman Marcus style event a few weeks back, I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa Taylor Richey, President and Founder of The American Academy of Etiquette, Inc. We struck up a conversation and I learned that she teaches etiquette both in real life and online, particularly focusing on children. Unfortunately etiquette is becoming a lost art, and I am so excited to hear of her work.

I asked Lisa if she would be interested in guest posting for me while I’m on vacation, and here she is!

A Confident Child: It Starts with Eye Contact

I have good news. Self-confidence can be a learned trait and it starts with awareness. Time and time again I receive phone calls from parents asking for my help with shyness and low self-esteem issues with their children. We want our children to move through life with ease, boundless opportunities, good friends, and adventure.

Eye contact is the basis of a self-confident child. There are many things you can do to assure your child has endless amounts of self-confidence. Let’s start with eye contact. Here is how you can incorporate this at home:

Be fully present with your child. With iPhones, iPads, Blackberries, etc. we are constantly challenged to be fully present and in our “now”. What a gift you can give an adult or a child by giving your undivided attention. Put aside your phones or the latest project and spend time with your little one – quality time without interruption.

Make eye contact. The latest email can wait…trust me. Explain eye contact and how to make it. This sounds so simple, but it works. Look at your child and point out what you are doing and why. Of all my topics, teaching eye contact is the most gratifying experience because I can see a child light up and understand what it feels like to be confident. He gets it….immediately. I see a marked difference by the end of class.

Over the years I have noticed when you bring awareness to what confidence is and how it feels inside to have eye contact, the child makes a radical change, instantaneously. Try it, it works. Remember, your children are watching you.

Model eye contact and be fully present. Kneel down to their level. With this action, they are able to focus their attention on you. Making eye-to-eye contact with them makes it easier for your child to actually see you and to listen to what you have to say.

Lisa Richey has been teaching good manners for children, adults, and educators since 1999. She is the author and creator of the popular program, Manners To Go. You can reach her at Manners To Go and American Academy of Etiquette. or follow her on Twitter at @mannerstogo.