Humans are judgy beings – whether we should or shouldn’t, we do. It takes just 4 seconds to make a first impression on someone you meet, and 4 minutes to create a lasting impression. Only 7% of what people initially think about us is from what we are actually saying. 38% of their perception of us comes from the quality of our voice, grammar, and confidence. The other 55% is based on how we dress, act, and walk. People ask only two things when they meet us. Can I trust this person? Can I respect this person?
The impression that your child gives to peers, teachers, and the world around them is important. You can teach your child to make a good impression on others with these hints:
- Smile. That is the most important thing you can do. Not in a forced, creepy way, but a genuine smile that goes along with a “hello,” or “hey, what’s up?”
- Cleanliness. Good hygiene, combed hair, and clothes that are fashionable and fit well. If your child struggles socially, a poor physical appearance can only makes things more difficult.
- Confidence. Practice with your child how to stand tall, with their shoulders back and not hunched. They should practice speaking in a confident tone of voice that is loud enough to hear, but not too loud. Confidence can be increased by teaching your child how to stand in a superhero pose for two minutes (privately). This is one area where some kids may have to “fake it until they make it” and it’s important to do so. Confident kids are less likely to be picked on or bullied.
- Engage. Face people when they are talking to you. If eye contact is difficult for your child, tell them to focus on a spot on the person’s forehead. The other person will not be able to tell the difference.
- Trustworthiness. It’s important that peers know that your child is trustworthy and honest. Cheating at games doesn’t make a good impression. Being sneaky doesn’t make a good impression. It is also crucial that your child learn to understand that reliability and consistency in their reactions and choices is all part of making a continuous good impression on classmates and peers.
Here is a video on helping kids see the difference between a good first impression and a poor one: First Impressions