Monday, July 12, 2010

What do you mean by floortime?

My family and I went to see Toy Story 3 a few days back. Am I the only one who cried during this movie? I hadn't realized it was about the boy "Andy" going off to college and giving up his toys! Ouch, that hit a tender spot, me with two in college. It seems like just yesterday they were playing with their toy trains and animals....

I loved the movie's conclusion - whoops, stop reading if you haven't seen the film!

In the final scene, Andy drops off his favorite toys with a young girl in the neighborhood. What follows is one of the most tender examples of "floortime" that I have seen on the large screen. Andy sees her delight in his boyhood toys and he begins to play with her, embellishing her storytelling, moving the toys to act out their parts. It is an adorable scene - this 17 year old playing an imaginative game with this young child, perhaps 3 or 4 years of age.

Dr. Stanley Greenspan (who died this past April, 2010) recommends that you spend a little time every day playing alongside your child, not directing their play, but fully participating in it.

According to the work of Dr. Stanley Greenspan, floortime:

." based on the idea that emotion is critical to the growth of the mind and brain. Following the child's lead means following his emotions. What is of interest to your child? What gives him pleasure? Whatever it is, your child's interest is your clue, your window into what he is feeling. The first step is for you to observe closely so that you can tune into his emotional world. Once that you have figured out what he is interested in, you can use that to draw him further up the developmental ladder..."

My friend Mindy told me about a parenting class she attended, which touted the wisdom of this special focused play time and its' conviction that "if you give your child 10 minutes of your undivided attention, you buy yourself some 20-30 minutes of time to yourself - because your child will become so engaged in his/her play." I had forgotten that wisdom - I just remember the joy of my children, with this undivided attention from me. Go ahead, give it a try!

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