Drop and Dramatize

Getting down on my child’s level is hard to do. I mean, really, to get
on the floor I have to stop what I’m doing, thinking, planning, turn off
the phone, turn off my whole adult mindset. I might even still be in my
work clothes, which I can’t ...really ....move ...in. And my back
might be hurting, or my knees sore. But... that said, WHEN I make the
effort and get down on my child’s level, I notice that life afterwards
happens with a little more ease. Requests and expectations are met with
surprising willingness. Moods are lighter. My child and I have a
shared experience - a connection - and that makes life just more fun!

Every time I recommend Stanley Greenspan’s
(http://www.stanleygreenspan.com/) floortime approach to parents - I
always acknowledge the difficulties of putting this into practice. But
parents often respond by saying that when they’re less verbal, less
cerebral, and actually spend some silly time with their kids, that
routines and transitions are much easier.

Seriously, taking time out for a little “finger puppet” show with the
vegetables you’re about to cook with makes for some great laughs and
more connected and cooperative kids.

I’ve been struggling with a very active and obstinate toddler lately. 
But last night his art project became a self-transporting-mind-altering-dramatic-enhancing-state-changer. The tops of the egg carton (thoroughly decorated with fluff, straws and
eyeballs) became buttons that could transport you into other worlds. 
Each time you pressed a button, you changed. Dragons one minute. Ghosts
the next. Then zombies, frogs, monsters, insert <category I’ve never
heard of>, etc. This became a hilarious, energetic, drama. And my baby
was so receptive to later transitions that everyone felt a little better.

I guess it’s about quality time in day-to-day life. Whether it’s 5, 10
or 20 minutes long - it’s just a great check in (also a great check in
with the rambunctious toddler within all of us). Floortime is very much
like a dance. Let your partner take the lead and follow the steps. And
just watch those mirror neurons fire away. When you follow your child’s
lead, you join in your child’s emotional flow, creativity, skill
development, sensory input. This can be an exciting exploration of your
child’s ideas. So drop and dramatize with your child. Get down. Get
physical. Get play.