As body language expert I can speak to corporate audiences about the accuracy of your immediate gut impressions. My audiences have shared funny and sometimes embarrassing stories about their toddlers accurate first impressions of "Aunt Martha" or That scary guy at the car place." Teach them to feel comfortable going with gut impressions of people. In that fraction of a second the child is reading the nonverbal cues in the primal brain before he or she can process the information in his or her conscious brain and know what to say or do. They are often accurate in their assessments. You need them to be comfortable and confident in making these first impressions. Sometimes telling them to, "Shush and be quite." or "Be polite." will make them doubt their ability to access safe people from dangerous people. Teach them about strangers and what to do if they feel uncomfortable. One way to do this is to teach them how their body may go into Freeze Flight Flight. Most adults know about the flight, fight response, but they don’t know that the third fear response is freeze and that is often what children do in a scary situation such as a stranger approaching them. You can have fun with it and make it game so they not what to do. Kids typically freeze first. They need to learn to take action before the fear overwhelms them and they go into or stay in the freeze response.
Patti Wood, MA, CSP
The Body Language Expert
Blog- http://www.http://www.bodylanguagelady.com .com