Why is flexible thinking a characteristic of a well adjusted individual? Flexible thinkers can adapt to and cope with change. They can problem solve quickly without feeling overwhelmed. Conversely, rigid thinkers have a low tolerance for frustration, change, etc. and this can permeate into other areas of one’s functioning (i.e. interpersonal interactions, completing tasks, etc.).
I’ve had parents tell me that this feels like a “big picture” challenge that is overwhelming to even begin thinking about. I like this article because it highlights how simple it can be to start encouraging flexible thinking patterns in children:
- Bend the rules
- Teach self talk
- Tweak the routine
- Check in with Amelia Bedelia (**great book series for kids who are literal thinkers!)
- Get a joke book
It’s always important that you feel as though what you are approaching and/or working on with your child feels manageable. I like these tips because they are non-invasive, little adjustments that can increase and/or decrease based on how much you like them and feel they are working. Modeling to your children how things, even little things, can be unpredictable and still “ok” is really powerful. Hopefully, practicing flexible thinking on these little things will, with time and support, translate to the bigger things!
A young boy runs outside to recess, excited to play soccer with his friends. When he gets there, however, he discovers that the goals are missing and there are no soccer balls on the field. Scanning the field, he sees that his friends are playing kickball instead.