The Toolbox from Mr. Kats, School Counselor
The Personal Space Tool
“I have a right to my space and so do you”
Have you ever heard these words echoing through the house – “He’s touching my stuff!” “Mom, get her out of my room!” “Move over!” The Personal Space Tool addresses the need for clear physical boundaries. Many disruptive behaviors at school and home are a result of Personal Space or physical boundary “violations.” How one stands in a line, sits in a chair at a table, sits on the rug in a group, and even how loudly a person speaks are all examples of how Personal Space affects us.
The Personal Space Tool gives us a vocabulary to talk about the “space” around us. With the Personal Space Tool, children learn:
- Every person has personal boundaries and a right to the space around them.
- Each person has the responsibility to respect others’ space.
- How to honor and respect the personal boundaries of others.
- How to communicate their own needs for physical space and boundaries.
Here is how the Personal Space Tool works:
Outstretch hands in front of you, palms forward, with elbows relaxed and slightly bent. Slowly move hands apart and then together again, creating a curved boundary around you. Like a long piece of yarn that could be used create a circle around us, we can create and acknowledge this boundary around us that is needed for us to feel comfortable and safe.
Here are some suggestions for bringing the Personal Space Tool home:
- Talk about what it feels like (the emotional discomfort) when Personal Space is not respected.
- Discuss with your child how it may make someone feel when we, ourselves, accidently invade the other person’s Personal Space.
- Discuss with your child how our Personal Space boundary can either shrink or grow depending on the situation that we are in or depending on the people that we are around (family vs strangers).
To learn more, go to https://www.toolboxproject.com/. If you have questions, please contact me.
Jeremiah Kats, School Counselor