Five Tips for Teaching Eye Contact

Young children in khaki bottoms and green tops sit in a circle on a thick round rug. A boy turns to the girl next to him and says “good morning” while grasping her hand firmly and looking her in the eyes. Some variation of this ritual happens every school morning on the Jacksonville Country Day School campus.
Eye contact is a basic social skill, but it doesn’t always come naturally. Many children (and some adults) just need a little help with looking others in the eyes. With so many of our social interactions increasingly taking place online, it is more important than ever to foster eye contact.

Here are some ways that parents can help their children develop this basic non-verbal communication skill.

  1. Model eye contact by always making an effort to make eye contact with your child.  

  2. Make sure your child establishes eye contact when he asks for something from you.

  3. If your child doesn’t establish eye contact, don’t grant her wish.

  4. You can start by role-playing at home and eventually expanding that with others.

  5. Eye staring contests are also fun and help children gain comfort with looking into someone’s eyes.
Eye contact is necessary to improve empathy, which is the ability to imagine how another person might feel. Research has found that empathy has plummeted among students today because so much of their socializing lacks face-to-face interaction. You can help your children become more empathetic simply by increasing eye-contact.

— Tonya Elstein
Director of Education 

Click here to learn more about our school and how we help our students develop positive relationships that are grounded in empathy, respect, and thoughtful communication.

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Located In Jacksonville, FL, Jacksonville Country Day School is a private school for Pre-K 3 through 6th grade. JCDS prepares students for a healthy and productive lifetime of intellectual exploration, character development, and social responsibility.