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Expert Body Language Tips Kids Need to Know to Stand Up to Bullying

Transitioning from the fun-loving days of summer into a school routine affects all children differently. New situations have the power to bring out the best or the worst in us inevitably. How do we help our children learn and grow in a healthy learning environment when bullying becomes an issue? Throughout the month of October we recognize the importance of raising bully prevention awareness during National Bullying Prevention Month. As a guest post contributor, Yana German, body language expert share great valuable tips for students helping to deal with bully issues simply by changing their body language. Share these expert body language tips kids need to know to stand up to bullying. 

Expert Body Language Tips Kids Need to Know to Stand Up to Bullying

5 Back to School Body Language Tips To Fight Off Bullies
Guest Post Contributor, Yana German

Going back to school should be an exciting time in every child’s or teen’s life. They get to see their friends after the summer break and make new ones. However, a lot of students are faced with severe anxiety and stress when a new school year comes around. Whether it’s facing the school bully, not having the confidence to raise their hand and participate in class or even just trying to make friends, a student’s body language can become a tool to turn the social and scholastic experience of school into a positive one. 

Yana's Story

Yana’s personal story inspired her to help other children who are bullied. After relocating to the US during her teenage years due to anti-semitism in her native Belarus, German became an easy target for bullies at school. “ My parents couldn’t afford much, so most of my clothing came from refugee charities,” explains Yana. “Kids would make fun of me because I wasn’t dressed well and would throw food at me during lunch,” continues German. The bullying got to the point where Yana had to drop out of school for a year in order to get her confidence back and continue her education. Today, as a mother to two daughters, Yana shares her body language tips to ward off bullies.

One of the most important tips is to keep an open posture.

“Parents should always encourage their kids to stand up straight with their head and chin up,” says Yana. “Having great posture will instantly boost your confidence. Pulling your shoulders back and opening your chest is one quick fix that works wonders. Not only does it make you taller it boosts your inner confidence,” explains German.

When a student is talking to another child he/she should always look them in the eye

“Nothing gives away your fear more than not looking at the person you are speaking to.” says German. “Looking someone in the eye and maintaining that contact for as long as you can is a great non-verbal way of expressing your confidence,” adds German.

When someone is bullied it’s really hard, if not impossible to respond with empathy. 

“Shy and vulnerable kids are usually easy targets for bullies. That’s why it’s really important to smile,” suggests German. “Smiling serves as your barrier towards any negativity, and bullies rarely target children who seem to be happy, calm and radiate good energy,” adds German. When a student rarely smiles, it can be a warning sign of low self-esteem.

When we are feeling self-conscious, we naturally tend to become “smaller.” 

We want to shrink away into the room so that nobody notices us. This means we may hunch over, hide in a corner and cross our arms and legs until we almost disappear. German says the best way to gain confidence is to physically take up more space than usual. “If you are standing, take a wider stance than usual, put your arms on your hips. If you are sitting with a desk in front of you, use your arms on the desk to take up space.”German says. “This will make you feel more powerful and instantly give you more confidence.”

Relax your arms and open up your shoulders.

 “When a child or teen crosses his/her arms, it sends out a defensive signal that they want to be left alone,” explains German. “He can put his hands in his pockets if he feels awkward holding his arms by his side. What’s important is that he keeps his torso open. When the child’s arms at their side and they face the other child heart to heart it shows others he’d like to make new friends.”

Yana German, founder of School of Walk and has been studying various forms of body movement for more than 20 years. She has been featured in the New York Post, Teen Vogue, Brides Magazine and appeared on Good Day Chicago, San Antonio Living, AZ Family and many more. Her clients range from stand-up comedians and actresses to stay at home moms and children who are being bullied at school.