What’s In A Face?

The ability to understand how people feel by looking at their faces is an important skill. To see and know how someone feels can help children get along with other people and be successful learners. Parents and teachers can help children learn to look closely at a person’s body language and face to build on the important skill of understanding how others are feeling.

Body Language

non-verbal communication where actions are used to show feelings.

What we know:

  • Faces are important for communication and connection with other people.
  • Children who struggle with this skill may need help to make and keep friends, get along with others, and behave properly.
  • Kids who can identify feelings in faces are more likely to be good learners.

Try this:

Children as young as 6 years old can be are good at looking at a person’s face and telling if they are happy, sad, or angry. Watch a television show with the volume off. Ask your child to look at the actor’s faces and what they are doing without hearing their voices.  See if your child can tell you how the people in the show feel.

For fun:

Take the Emotional Intelligence Quiz from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center to test your own ability to understand emotions by only looking at faces.

Print this as a 1-page handout (What’s In A Face, PDF).

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