Understanding Personal Space is something everyone needs in order to feel comfortable, and learning to understand and respect personal space is an important social skill which most people learn as they grow. Many people consider personal space to be something which adults intuitively understand, but it is also important to make sure you teach your children about personal space; not only to ensure they develop this social skill, but also to help them to flag up and understand what are appropriate or inappropriate behaviours from others.
Understanding personal space not only means teaching children about the social norms involved in creating personal boundaries, but also enables them to benefit from creating their own personal space and trust in their own instincts. It can be important to talk to your child about what is appropriate and inappropriate in terms of closeness, as well as to always listen to their inner voice. If something feels uncomfortable or wrong to talk to a trusted grown up about it.
It is essential that your child knows that they can come to you with any concerns, questions or problems, and one way to ensure this is to communicate effectively with them and to ensure you have clear and open lines of communication with them. It can be important to reassure the child that whatever they tell you, they will not get into trouble and that keeping secrets can be a bad thing.
In order to physically demonstrate some of the common personal space distances, you could use outstretched arms or even a hula hoop so that they have a better idea of what sort of distance is appropriate for them. Discussing the difference between personal space between family members, friends, teachers and strangers is also important, and identifying when people cross those boundaries can be vital.
By teaching your child about the importance of personal space early on, you can better equip them for their adult lives and help them to identify appropriate and inappropriate behaviours from others.
It’s important to recognise that violating someones personal space can make them feel uncomfortable, whatever age they are.