Discussion: “The key,” says Dr. Greenspan, “is to extend the circles of interaction.” Once a child is somewhat engaged, you always want to extend the circles of interaction and get more and more purposeful. Play dumb with the child so they have to extend the circles of communication. The ultimate goal is the continuous flow of back and forth communication.

“Always look for the gleam in the child’s eye. Look for the affect. The biggest mistake to make is not looking for the light in the eye,” emphasizes Dr. Greenspan.

Be playful and flirtatious; don’t take it too seriously. Be emotionally expressive. If you are too serious when interacting, you won’t be emotionally vibrant enough. It takes a while, but your own affect system needs to be playful, subtle and expressive.

“You should treat whatever the child is doing as intentional. Once we get the child into multiple circles, then we are trying to get the circles more complicated,” notes Dr. Greenspan.

Learn more about Dr. Stanley Greenspan and the Greenspan Floortime approach. If you are new, we have a background and introduction to Greenspan Floortime including how it helps special needs children. We also have Greenspan Floortime training courses at Floortime U. specifically designed for parents and professionals including the Floortime Manual.