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Actions Speak Louder: Interpreting Non-Verbal Signals in Children

  • Matthijs Vlaardingerbroek |
  • Aug 10, 2023
Image depicting a Sunday school teacher attentively observing a young girl, Ava, illustrating the importance of interpreting non-verbal cues in children

Delve into the world of non-verbal communication and learn how to interpret and react to the silent signals children often use to express themselves.

In today's discussion, we'll focus on the unspoken but equally important aspect of communication: non-verbal signals. To illustrate this, I'd like to share my experience with a young girl named Ava from my Sunday School class.

Ava was always full of life and energy, but when it came to expressing her feelings, she would often use actions rather than words.

Deciphering the Language of Non-Verbal Communication

Despite her lively nature, Ava would often retreat to the background when it was time to engage in group activities. Her arms crossed, gaze downcast, and her cheerful personality seemed to fade away. She never expressed it verbally, but her body language suggested she was uncomfortable or uncertain.

The Importance of Observing and Decoding Silent Signals

It's crucial to be aware and take time to understand these non-verbal cues. Noticing Ava's behavior, I realized her vibrant energy masked a layer of shyness, which made it hard for her to participate actively in group tasks. This insight led to the development of activities designed to boost her self-confidence.

The Power of Responding Appropriately to Non-Verbal Cues

Just as with verbal responses, it's important to react suitably to non-verbal cues. To help Ava, I started assigning her roles that would gradually increase her confidence and make her feel more at ease participating in the activities.

Combining Verbal and Non-Verbal Understanding - Coming Soon!

In our forthcoming articles, we will delve deeper into how we can use our understanding of both verbal and non-verbal communication to better connect with and support the children in our ministry.


Interpreting non-verbal signals in children can reveal significant insights about their feelings and needs. Responding effectively to these cues can create a more supportive and nurturing environment for children like Ava. As we learn to read the unspoken, we can become better at understanding and supporting the children in our care.

Keywords: Children's Ministry, Good Listening, Understanding Kids, Communication, Safe Space, Responding Well, Understanding Non-verbal Signals

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