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Teaching three year old about personal space(4 Posts)
DS1 definitely needs to learn about personal space, but I have no clue how to go about it as he needs simple, clear rules usually and there seems to be a lot of information to cover. He is extremely tactile and loves hugs. How do I explain to him:
- it’s okay to hold hands, kiss (ie he tries to kiss injuries better - but maybe that’s inappropriate?) and cuddle his friends, but he needs to recognise when that behaviour is making them annoyed or uncomfortable and stop. He also needs to be gentle and stop grabbing kids and leading them to where he wants to go all the time, and so roughly.
- he needs to be aware of other kids, and not brush past them roughly bumping into them
- he sometimes cuddles people and inadvertently puts his hands on their legs next to or on their crotch
- he came to cuddle his aunties legs and was running his hands up and down them because they were smooth ..I tried to tell him it was rude but I didn’t know how to tell him there was a difference between a quick cuddle and prolonged touching/stroking and why it’s not appropriate
I was so shy as a kid, I would never have been so touchy feely even with family, other than my parents . DS is so confident and outgoing, and doesn’t seem to be aware of any social boundaries yet (he gets right up in other kids faces and he talks over other people) and he comes across as pushy, loud and forceful though I know he doesn’t mean it.
How do I teach him about all this, or is he just too young and will realise this naturally as he gets older? I definitely plan on teaching him to ask whether it’s ok to kiss, cuddle or hold hands before doing it.
He is only three, you can tell him he should not touch people without their consent but quite honestly he will outgrow this before too long. It's not at all unusual.
Part of it's only being 3 - but part of it I might well keep an eye on... total lack of a concept of personal space (not in a malicious way) and being a bit overly tactile was one of the first indicators of DD2's dyspraxia (her spatial awareness is waaaaay out, and she's got issues with tactile sensitivity).
There is bound to be a stretch in the middle where you can't expect him to understand your instructions and follow them, but will have to perform it with him ("that's enough dear, leave Auntie's legs alone now" and briskly move him away).
I think too often we come at this from an adult perspective, where we expect to be able to put the rules up on the office noticeboard and have them understood and followed at once, and if that doesn't happen we think we're failing as managers. Managing toddlers is playing the long game. But the mere fact that you are intervening ("no dear, that wasn't very nice for Amy, you nearly made her fall over, come and walk nicely with me instead") will go quite some way to smoothing over other people's feelings.
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