The topic in our morning Play & Workshop last week was Floortime. Moving forward I am going to post the highlights from each topic weekly. So here goes…

Floortime is an approach to play developed by Stanley Greenspan MD. If you haven’t heard of him he is a child psychiatrist who is big in the field of parenting and specializes in social and emotional development issues. The Floortime training kit was published in 1990 and is still widely used.

Greenspan stresses the benefits of floortime to a child’s vocabulary, interactive play, creative play and rates of aggression. The kit also discusses the importance of play from birth to six years old. It describes the impact of play on academic readiness, social and emotional exchange, language development and communication of ideas. It is important to know that play is bigger than play, when supported it is a strong foundation for academic and social success.

Parent Guidelines

  • Aim for 20 minutes a day per child. This is an uninterrupted 20 minutes that you are focused and following the play. Avoid checking on dinner and answering the phone.
  • During this time the child is the leader, you are the follower. You assist but never lead the play.
  • You move and play at their pace.
  • There is no discipline. There is no education. This really is play for the sake of play. The only rules are no hurting or breaking things, and then, likely, you just end the floortime.
  • All of your comments and questions should be to focus and build on their current activity. Expand without changing directions. Take a real interest.
  • Enter in the least intrusive way possible.
  • The hardest part for most parents is slowing down.

Author: Dr. Rene Hackney

With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.

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