A language-learning tip from Dr. Greenspan: Create language learning situations for your child even if doing so gets them a little frustrated. Don’t simply give them a list of words to memorize or expect them to learn language by having someone model word usage for them. Children need to emotionally connect to words for those words to really have meaning to them.

Challenging a child to think produces a thinking child.

Dr. Stanley Greenspan

You don’t develop language and thinking by someone modeling it for you. Thumbs down on modeling. You’ve got to be an active participant. You don’t copycat these advanced skills. You learn it through interacting and using it because somebody is challenging you. So the modeler becomes the challenger. Don’t model language. Challenge the child to use the language.

If the child is not using pronouns properly, I don’t want you to say okay to that. If the child says “You want juice” when he means that he wants juice. Challenge that. Tell him that you don’t want juice or that you already have juice. The child will initially get frustrated, but will eventually say something like “Me! Me! Me!” He gets emotional. He now gets it. The pronoun is now connected for him.

Create learning situations for the child even if they get a little frustrated and not just lists of words for them to memorize. as long as they don’t get too frustrated. Don’t give them the answer. You can give them multiple choice answers if they need that, but they’ve got to be thinking all the time. Challenging the child to think produces a thinking child.

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.