As a parent, at some point you need to explain to your child what the right to privacy means. But this is easier said than done! The way you perceive privacy is quite difficult for a child to understand at first. However, there are certain fundamental rules you can use to help your little one understand what privacy is and how to go about respecting it.
1. Be very clear about respecting personal space
One of the first rules of respecting privacy is to teach children to respect the personal space of others. They love getting close to others, so it’s important to teach them to maintain a certain distance from others, as getting too close can make individuals feel uncomfortable. As a fix, you can ask them to stand with their hands on their hips and make sure that their elbows don't touch others around them. Let them practice this at home, rewarding them with positive words whenever they do so!
2. Set up privacy rules
Write what your child could do to respect privacy on a piece of paper and explain why these rules are important to follow. Here are some good examples: ‘I must not touch others when I am talking to them', 'I must close the door when I am using the bathroom', 'I must seek permission before I enter a room.’ Review the rules with your little one on a daily basis, and stick this paper in a place where your child can see and read it multiple times during the day.
3. Teach them to ask for permission
Teach your child the difference between entering any room without permission vs asking for permission first. The most effective way to do this is to teach them to knock and ask if it is okay to enter before entering. While this is easier said than done, it does take practice, practice, practice! You’ll need to walk your child through this several times every time they enter unannounced to remind them about asking for permission.
4. Lead by example!
Children tend to learn habits from their parents. As a parent, you should be following the privacy rules too and always knocking and asking for permission to enter before entering your little one’s personal space. This will help them learn first-hand from you how to practice respecting privacy.
As children grow up, their personal boundaries expand and they will need more privacy (mental, digital, and social for starters). While they cherish their privacy, they must also learn to respect the boundaries set by others, so I hope this list of rules is a good start to teach them about privacy.