Flexible thinking (or “cognitive flexibility” if you ask a doctor) is an incredibly useful executive function skill. It allows us to mentally pivot when we need to and problem solve with critical thinking. Seems simple enough, right? Problem is this is a learned skill – and some learn it more easily than others.
When a child has difficulty with flexible thinking, they often have trouble switching gears when necessary. They face challenges when finding different approaches to problems. They may become anxious or even angry if they can only see one possible solution to their problem – and that solution doesn’t bring resolution.
It is common for learners who struggle with flexible thinking to freeze up or simply do nothing when faced with a challenge. Or, perhaps they repeatedly try the same single strategy to overcome the challenge, even if it’s not working. Their thinking is often rigid and they can struggle with being able to move beyond the most basic way of doing something. Especially as we enter a new school year, still amidst a pandemic, when things continue to look and feel different, the benefits of flexible thinking make it a skill worth learning.
Flexible thinking will be a great benefit to all learners of every age! Here’s a few exercises you can use at home to help encourage flexible thinking:
If you’re looking for more ways to help your child boost their flexible thinking and executive function skills so they can be successful in their learning – come talk to The Village Tutors!