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February 25, 2023

How to Talk to Preschool Children about Personal Space and Privacy

By Bumo



Children are keen observers, but they don’t always understand everything they see. And if you have a preschooler who’s very curious about the world around them (as most of them are), then it’s important to explain some things to them in ways that make sense for their age level.

Use calm, gentle language.

  • Use a calm, gentle voice.
  • Keep your language simple and age-appropriate.
  • Use positive words when you talk about personal space and privacy.

Reassure children that they are safe and loved.

When talking with your preschooler about personal space and privacy, you may want to reassure them that they are safe and loved. This is important because children cannot read minds–they need to hear it from you. It’s also important for you to keep repeating this message over and over again so that your child can internalize it. When children feel safe and secure, they will be able to make good choices about their bodies and other people’s bodies as well as how much information about themselves should be shared with others (or not).

Explain “personal space” and how it works.

  • Personal space is about how close you are to other people. It’s about respect and safety. Personal space is different for everyone, but it’s always important to respect other people’s personal space.
  • It can be hard to teach preschoolers about personal space because they’re so curious and want to explore everything around them! The best way is by playing games that involve learning about their own bodies and what makes them feel comfortable in different situations:
  • Try playing “I’m going on an adventure!” with your child using stuffed animals or dolls as props (for example, if you have a puppet theater). Have each character describe what they plan on doing on their trip before setting out–maybe some want to visit the beach while others want go hiking up mountains or swimming in rivers (or whatever else sounds fun). Then let everyone act out their plans together until one person gets too close for comfort; stop acting out at this point so everyone knows when they’ve crossed into another person’s personal bubble.*

Use concrete examples that preschoolers can relate to.

You can use examples that are familiar to your child. For example, if they like playing with dolls and stuffed animals, you might say something like: “This is my doll’s house. It’s private just like your bedroom is private.”

Use age-appropriate language. You want to keep in mind that preschoolers may not understand everything you say right away, so try not to get frustrated if they don’t seem interested in what you’re saying or if they ask questions about the topic later on (or even days later). A good rule of thumb is that any words used should be ones that a 3rd grader could understand without having them explained again – this means no highfalutin vocabulary! For example: “We have privacy rights because people need time alone sometimes; it helps them feel better when they’re sad or tired.”

Offer reassurance.

When you have a child who is struggling with boundaries and privacy, it’s helpful to acknowledge that this is a natural part of development. You can always come back and talk about privacy later. When you are ready. When your child is old enough–and ready!

It’s also important not to make assumptions about when your child will be ready for certain discussions based on age or developmental stage alone; some children may be ready before others (or at the same time). So don’t worry if your little one isn’t quite there yet–it doesn’t mean anything is wrong or broken in his or her development; it just means that he or she isn’t quite there yet!

You don’t have to teach your child about privacy all at once.

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to teach your child about privacy all at once. Children develop at different rates and may not understand everything you’re trying to teach them, so it’s okay if they don’t get it right away.

It also helps if you use examples from their own lives or from things they can relate to–if they know what personal space means by using examples like “the area around me” or “my body,” then they are more likely to understand what private means when someone asks them not to touch something or look at something without permission.


We hope this article has helped you understand how to talk to preschoolers about personal space and privacy. It’s important that you don’t overwhelm your child with too much information at once, but instead build up their understanding over time. You can start by explaining what “personal space” means (and how it works), then move on to more complex topics like privacy in public places or other people touching them without permission.

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