What Is Personal Space? | Teaching Personal Space to Kids
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What Is Personal Space? | Teaching Personal Space to Kids

[2-Minute Tutorial: How to Teach Your Child About Personal Space] [Understood | for learning & attention issues] Some children with learning and attention issues have a very difficult time understanding what is appropriate personal space. [Mark J. Griffin, Ph.D. – Former Headmaster, Eagle Hill School] They often stand way too close and can miss the subtle cues other kids give them to back off a little bit. Invading personal space can make it harder for kids to make friends. The good news is there are a few simple ways parents can help kids develop a better sense of personal space. [Show Your Child When He’s Standing Too Close] Here’s an exercise to help your child understand what appropriate personal space feels like. Start by asking him to stand about four feet away from you. Then have him take a small step forward and stop. Ask him if he thinks he’s too close to you. Have him keep taking small steps forward and pause each time to say whether he thinks he’s too close. When he stops, show him where you started to feel like he was too close. Try this exercise a couple of times. See what happens. [Use a Hula-Hoop] Here’s another way to help your child work on personal space. Take a hula-hoop. Place it on the ground. Stand in the middle of the hoop and have your child come up and stand close enough so that his toes touch just the outside of the hoop. This is an appropriate distance away from a conversation partner, about 18-24 inches away. Talk about how you both feel at this distance. Practice having conversations a few times this way, and then remove the hula-hoop. The next day, without the hoop, engage your child in conversation. See if he remembers how far away to stand. [Resist the Urge to Follow] Help your child resist the urge to follow when somebody he is speaking to takes a step back. Explain why your child should stay put— that the other person is trying to let your child know he’s getting a little too close. You can work on this together at home. When you’re having a conversation, take a step back and gently point out if he follows you. [Practice Together at Home] Kids with learning and attention issues need opportunities to practice these new skills. Practicing together at home can help them remember to use these strategies during school and other social activities. Try to keep things fun so your child will stay motivated and keep working on maintaining the right amount of personal space. Lots of practice, lots of positive feedback will help him get there. [More to Explore on Understood] [Teaching Your Child About Personal Space] [How the Elbow Rule Helped Me Teach Personal Space] [Helping Your Child Understand Body Language] [5 Unwritten Social Rules] [Understood | for learning & attention issues] [U | understood.org]

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