Most adults understand the physical boundaries imposed within general space and the importance of respecting the norms of personal space; however, young children spend a lot of time cuddling, hugging and sitting on laps at home, and this may be confusing when they aren’t able to do the same at school.
Using these personal space worksheets, we’ll help you teach how to provide a little elbow room.
First, you will work with students in a group exercise to demonstrate proper personal space and discuss how different situations may change the rules around what boundaries are okay and not okay.
And second, students can use the worksheet to create their own personal space social story.
Recommended Grade Level: Elementary
SEL Skill(s): Communication, Cooperation
Duration: 30 minutes
- Personal Space social story
- Educator instructions
Personal Space Lesson Instructions
Prompt: “Today we are going to talk about personal space. Does anyone know what this means?
* Allow students to respond *
General space is the entire area of the room you are in.
Personal space is the area around your body. It is a boundary between you and people near you.
Here are some examples:
- Have you ever had someone talk so close to your face, you get a little uncomfortable?
- Someone stands so close to you, that they are touching you
- Standing too close to someone when waiting on line
* Have students share a few other examples *
We’re going to get up and show what invading someone’s space can look like. Can I have 2 volunteers?
(Have 2 students pretend they are standing in line and have the one student stand very close to the person in front of them).
Do you think this is showing good personal space? What can they do differently so the each have their own space?
* Allow time for answers *
Now I’d like you all to stand up. Don’t move, but stand exactly where you are. Take a look around. You may or may not be practicing good personal space right now and we’re going to find out!
Hold your arms out straight to the side – are you touching anyone? If you are, take a step back until you are no longer touching them. This is a great way to know we’re doing things right.
Let’s have a seat and think of some other examples where we might need help.
* Allow time for students to respond *
Who likes to give a hug when you say goodbye to someone?
Who just likes to wave goodbye? Or maybe you like to high five?
Each of those things are OK! But, the right thing to do before hugging someone is ask “can I hug you goodbye?”
It’s important we learn to respect the boundaries of those around us.
Some things we should remember:
- Having a arms length in between you and someone else
- Use your words if someone is standing too close to you and you don’t like it
- Respect someone else’s boundaries by asking them before getting close enough to touch them”
Optional: Hand out the personal space worksheets and have your students color and fill it in.
- Harrison P. Spader, Personal Space Invader by Christianne C Jones and Cale Atkinson
- Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook
Related Lessons and Programs