Teaching Personal Space using videos

I've written before about how you can use videos to teach social skills to kids (check out this blog post for more information about using videos in general). One of my favorite lessons to teach using videos is about personal space.

I loved showing the two videos below because of the laughter and conversations that happened when we watched something a little silly together. Here’s what you can do if you want to use videos to start a discussion with your kids about personal space:

Ask about what they know about personal space - they may have heard things describing personal space as a hula hoop, or your own personal space bubble, or making sure you keep an arms’ length away from someone.

Explain that you're going to watch a couple of videos and you can discuss the use of personal space in the videos. Preview the fact that you will be pausing the video for conversations or if they want to ask questions.

Seinfeld - The Close Talker episode

Things you can discuss

  • how Jerry’s parents react when Elaine’s boyfriend talks with them

  • the difference between when Elaine’s boyfriend is talking to Jerry’s parents and when Elaine’s boyfriend is talking to Elaine (because she is his girlfriend and it’s expected that they would speak a little closer)

  • note how Jerry reacts when Elaine’s boyfriend talks to him

Supermarket experiment - A psych project about invading personal space

I like this video because it has written explanations about the different levels of personal space (intimate, personal, social & public). I also like that they talk to a couple of the people whose space they invaded about what their thoughts were during the violation of personal space.

Things to discuss:

  • the difference between the varying levels of personal space

  • the ways people react when strangers get too close

  • cultural differences between what is considered personal space

This is also a great time to talk with your child about expected personal space at school. Specifically, note the differences between personal space in the classroom doing work at your seat versus at lunch versus at recess, etc.

You can also talk about good personal space when you're in a public place, like at a sporting event, or an aquarium, or a museum.

Also discuss about which type of personal space you’d share with different people (e.g. where would family go, or friends, neighbors, strangers, etc.).  Check out this pin showing the different levels of personal space to help you with this conversation!  

Let me know how it goes, enjoy!!

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