The “new norm” of saying “Hello” and “Good-bye”
Language impaired children often have trouble interpreting facial expressions. Increasing numbers of states may be required that everyone except for those under the age of two wear masks. How will this affect social skills? Reading the emotions of others is so important to be able to communicate with each other
Language is changing in terms of interpretation of facial expressions – after all we are wearing masks hopefully more often than not at this time. Teaching emotions and interpreting them will change so please click on this link to learn some tips. A literal visual picture will be worth a thousand words! https://challengingbehavior.cbcs.usf.edu/docs/Wearing-Masks_Story.pdf
Learn about how to help your children interpret emotions underneath those masks
Helping Children Understand Emotions When Wearing Masks
Young children look for emotional cues from caregivers to help interpret the environment and rely on their caregiver’s facial expressions, tone of voice, and body posture to identify and understand emotions. Here are tips and ideas for helping children identify emotions when your face, your most expressive feature, is covered by a mask. Use these strategies to let children know that behind the mask, a kind and warm expression is still there!
- Practice emotional expressions with a mask on in front of a mirror. Pay attention to facial cues that can be seen, body movements, and hand gestures.
- Incorporate ASL when teaching emotions
- Direct children to look at your eyebrows, eyes, body movements, and gestures when talking about emotions. For example, “Look, I am happy.
You can’t see my mouth smile, but my cheeks lift up, my eyes crinkle, and my shoulders and arms look like this.”
- Increase the use of gestures throughout the day and when talking
about emotions (e.g., shoulders shrugged for sad, arms out to indicate
a happy mood).
- Talk about your feelings as much as possible (e.g., “I am feeling happy that it is almost time to go outside and play.”; “I am feeling sad that it is raining right now.”; “I am feeling excited that we have a new toy in centers today.”).
- If using an emotion check-in, encourage all adults in the classroom to participate and check-in when the children do (https://challengingbehavior.cbcs.usf.edu/docs/FeelingFaces_chart_template.pdf).
- When talking about emotions, hold up the corresponding emotion card or visual near your face. Consider wearing a lanyard with a visual of an emotion expressions (e.g., tired, happy, excited, sad, angry, mad, nervous).
- Be sure to face children and remain nearby when talking to them while wearing a mask. Wearing a mask muffles the speaker’s speech, which can make it more difficult to understand what is said.
- Provide an activity for children to practice wearing a mask and making different faces while looking in a mirror or at each other. Point out how their face looks (e.g., eyes, eyebrows).
- Allow children to use masks during play with stuffed animals to help familiarize them with seeing masks in their environment.
- Reference: National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations | ChallengingBehavior.org
The reproduction of this document is encouraged. Permission to copy is not required. If modified or used in another format, please cite original source. This is a product of the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations and was made possible by Cooperative Agreement #H326B170003 which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.
Please keep the conversation going and post how you an your children are changing how you are interacting with others. How is language changing for your family???