Setting Goals and Making Plans Lesson

As adults, we understand physical boundaries and the importance of giving and demanding our own personal space in an important interpersonal skill. However for young children, they spend a lot of time cuddling, hugging and sitting on laps at home at a young age and all of sudden that needs to change once they get older. For some kids, this can be a struggle as they are used to acting one way and all of a sudden the rules change for them. There can be numerous reasons why some have difficulty, but in this lesson will help you teach how to practice a little elbow room.


Prompt:  “Today we are going to talk about personal space. Does anyone know what this means?

* Allow students to respond *

Personal space means the area around your body. It is a boundary between you and the people around 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 social story worksheet and have your students color and fill it in.

Download Educator Instructions PDF
Download Personal Space Worksheet

Additional Resources: