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Managing Conflict With Non Verbal Communication

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

Smiles and eye contact are important factors when we communicate with others. These are known as nonverbal communication.


Nonverbal communication as defined by oxford reference means any communication which is other than speech or writing. Nonverbal communication are languages such as sign language or visual language.


Positive nonverbal communication can help a child to learn ways to relate and also help them in getting along with other people around them. When conflict or argument arises, subconsciously, we communicate nonverbally through our facial expression, posture, tone of voice, and gesture.


When the child is going through a meltdown or having a tantrum, using positive nonverbal communication can help with both ways. Paying attention to the child’s nonverbal communication can help us figure out what they are feeling at that moment.


From this, we are able to respond to the child in a way that allows us to mitigate the tense emotions and build better trust. And indirectly, positive nonverbal communication contributes towards the child’s development as well.


However, be mindful that when there is a positive, there is also a negative. Negative nonverbal communication will send messages to children that you do not want to spend time or do not care about them. Below are some techniques we can use to demonstrate positive communication to foster a better interaction with the child.


Ways to improve communication through body language and tone of voice

We often express our feelings and thoughts through body language which could send out either positive or negative messages to the other party. This can be used as an advantage as a form of positive nonverbal communication with our children by sending them nonverbal messages to further reinforce what we are trying to say and express to our children. Here are some examples:


  • Touching the arms : shows you are interested and care about what they are saying or doing

  • Eye contact: when communicating, always make sure that you have lots of eye contact as this will show the child that your attention are fully on them

  • Child's level: Bend down to their level. This will make your child feel secure and at the same time helps with eye contact.

  • Body language: Smile or nodding are examples of body language that you can use to show and express your feeling while communicating with your child

  • Tone of voice: When your child is feeling frustrated, use a reassuring voice and make eye contact with them to help calm them down. When communicating with your child, make sure the tone of voice you use is calm with a calm facial expression. This helps children differentiate your voice when you are angry or happy.

  • Cuddles and rewards: Give them lots of cuddles! Can also include a reward to encourage better engagement at an appropriate time

Some useful tips



  • The Disney movie “Inside Out” is a great movie to watch with your child to help them understand and talk about their feelings without using words.

  • A proper and right nonverbal communication can reinforce your words for example when you smile and say something it means you are happy.

  • Always make sure to give full attention to your child when you are communicating with them. Do not look away when they are talking as this nonverbal communication can mean you are not interested.


Here’s a video below to illustrate the steps taken to handle conflict with a child:



Keep calm and manage conflict the right way!


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