As we continue this month's topic of lessons children learn from parents, this week's topic is flexibility. A quality that will help make life more bearable is to learn flexibility. This is the trait of learning to go with the flow, and not letting the little things bring you stress. A child who learns flexibility will not get wrapped up in anxiety every time plans change, as they so often do.
Flexibility is a thinking skill that focuses on a child’s ability to adapt to new situations, improvise, and shift strategies to meet different types of challenges. For example, when taking a test that contains both multiple choice and essay questions, a child with good Flexibility skills will be able to switch easily between the two formats, while a child who struggles with Flexibility skills may get stuck and become frustrated each time the format changes
A great way to teach your child flexibility is for them to learn that it is acceptable to make changes to a plan when necessary. Keep a relaxed routine. Don't get me wrong... a routine can benefit everyone, but it is perfectly okay to make small changes every now and then. Video games can help. They teach kids to adjust strategies to win the game.
Cognitive flexibility includes two skills: flexible thinking and mindset shifting. Kids who are able to think about a problem in a new way engage in flexible thinking, while kids who get stuck in their ways tend to engage in rigid thinking. Mindset shifting refers to the child’s ability to let go of an old way of doing something to try a new way. When kids engage in flexible thinking, they are better able to cope with change and process new information, both within the classroom and out in the world.
1. Talk it out. Talking it out is a great way to work through a problem for everyone, but especially for kids. Teach your child to take a few deep breaths, state the problem, consider at least three possible solutions and then choose one. When kids learn to talk their way through problems, they experience less frustration and are better able to cope with unexpected changes.
2. Bend the rules. While rules can certainly come in handy at times, being engrossed on the specifics of rules can make it hard for kids to get along with others. Making small changes to the rules can actually make games more fun, and improve your child’s ability to solve problems.
3. Modify the routine. Routines are great because they help us know what comes next. Kids are no exception. Young children often thrive when they have specific daily routines in the home, but sometimes the dependence on routine increases rigid thinking. Instead of doing everything exactly the same way each day make small modifications to the routine here and there to demonstrate to kids that it’s okay to do things in a different way.
4. Get a joke book. Joke books can be a great way to talk about the different meanings of words and think about how changing the meaning of a word makes it funny.
Beverly Jones-Durr is an Author, Dynamic Speaker, Certified Life Purpose Coach and Educational Facilitator. She is founder of Every Child Has a Story which is home to The Writer’s Vibe and Speech Crafters Club - “The Only Public Speaking Club for Kids and Teens in Alabama!” Beverly empowers young people to command their voice, feelings, ideals, energy and intellect and use all of that to boost their communication skills. Speech Crafters Club is a safe place for members age 8 and up to explore creativity and enhance their communication skills all while enhancing self-esteem and confidence. The Writer’s Vibe empowers kids to use words to write stories only they can write and become stellar wordsmiths whose talents will no doubt someday change the world. The Writers Vibe program launches in 2017. Check us out and prepare to be amazed! You can also follow Beverly 0n Twitter, FaceBook and Pinterest