Personal Space: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Did you know that you have your own personal space, and so does every other individual? In this lesson, learn about what makes up a person's space, and how to read body language cues to determine how someone feels about their space.

Crowded Out

Do you enjoy being in crowds with people close around you? Or does that make you feel like you want to escape to a place where you have more room? People are different in all types of ways, including how physically close they want to be to others.

How would you feel if you were in the middle of this large crowd?
sporting event

What Exactly is Personal Space?

Personal space is the area immediately surrounding your body. This amount of space can be different from person to person. Some people may want more room between themselves and those around them, while other people don't mind if someone gets closer to them. Personal space can even be different from culture to culture.

Getting inside someone's personal space can make them uncomfortable. So if personal space is different from person to person, how do you know whether to get close to a person or to stay further away? There are actually several ways you can be a personal-space detective.

Body Language

Did you know that your mouth is not the only way you can communicate to others? Everyone has their own body language, which means they have ways of others how they feel without actually coming out and saying it.

Facial expressions are a type of body language. Your face probably looks one way when tasting your favorite ice cream, and totally different when you find out your little brother just destroyed your favorite drawing. One way to gather clues from a person is to look at their face. If you begin to move closer into someone's personal space, you may notice their face starts to look worried or angry. They are giving you a signal to back away and give them room.

There are other body language clues that you can gather when you pay attention. Someone who might not want another person in their space might cross their arms. This is a signal that perhaps they are angry or want to be left alone.

Based on these body language clues, you might not want to invade her personal space.

Action Clues

If a person does not like others in their personal space, there are actions they may do beyond giving body language clues. Let's say you have a friend who does not like for someone to get too close. If you invade her space, she might move back or away.

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