The book The Nonverbal Advantage tells us that in the earliest days of human survival, the children who could maintain eye contact — and therefore attract people's attention — had the best chance of being fed and cared for.
Today, making eye contact is still a very important skill for kids to learn, and while it's maybe not quite as critical for existence, it's a way for them to show others they're warm, friendly and interested. And yet it's something so many struggle with these days. Conversations often happen while trying to catch Pikachu.
It's important to make eye contact when you're talking to someone, but too much eye contact can be creepy. What's a socially awkward person to do? Try the 60 per cent rule of thumb.
One simple way to teach kids how to make eye contact is to have them find out the eye colour of the person they're talking to. You can tell them to make a mental note of it or report back to you later (rather than blurt out "Aquamarine!" mid-conversation). It's a trick that works for adults, too. Just looking into a person's eyes for an extra two seconds and smiling can make them feel seen.
Teach kids to do this early and it will be easier for them to connect with new friends throughout their lives.