Here is one thing that I absolutely can’t stand: bad handshakes. Have you ever gotten a crummy handshake that felt like a limp, dead fish? Have you ever received a bone-crushing handshake that made you want to scream “OUCH! YOU’RE KILLING ME!”? Honestly, it’s embarrassing when an adult doesn’t know how to give a proper handshake, but here’s an interesting question to ponder:
When the heck does one even learn about handshakes?
I sure can’t remember when I was first introduced to the art of handshaking, but I owe whoever taught me BIG TIME!
We need to teach it!
So here is what I’m proposing: we speech-language pathologists need to take a few seconds out of our speech therapy session to teach all of our students (regardless of their goals and objectives) how to give a great handshake. The reason why is simple, a handshake is the most common and important form of communication on this planet! The act is used to say hello, goodbye, we agree, and as a mutual sign of goodwill and peace. A handshake can establish a first impression with someone and if a child is not able to give a well-constructed and executed handshake, he or she is not producing an effective communicative intent (and is ultimately not establishing a good first impression).
How do I add handshakes into my speech therapy?
My students know that they’re not allowed to enter my speech room until they stand at my door and give me a loud and clear greeting. In addition, directly after their greeting is complete, the students and I engage in a handshake. Sometimes I squeeze too tightly, sometimes I don’t squeeze at all, it’s up to the child to tell me what I did wrong. This action alone will turn your client into a champion handshaker in no time!
Let’s ask some questions about handshakes!
Here are some fun questions to ask your students in regards to handshakes:
- What would happen if you tried to shake a lobster’s hand? Why?
- What would happen if you had glue all over your hand and you tried to shake your teacher’s hand? Why?
- What would happen if you had honey all over your hand and you tried to shake a hungry bear’s hand? Why?
In addition, I created a FREE coloring sheet for you and your students to work on while engaging in a conversation about handshakes. Click HERE to download it.
Remember, age doesn’t matter!
From preschoolers through 5th graders and beyond, it’s NEVER too early to talk about handshakes.
In closing . . .
I hope you will think of this blog post the next time someone shakes your hand. Please do me a favor and teach your speech students the importance of becoming a wonderful handshaker. Let me know how it goes and I look forward to shaking YOUR hand sometime soon (unless you are a lobster, of course, haha!).