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9 Ways to Model Flexibility to Your Child

Flexibility is an executive function that describes the ability to adapt to changing conditions by revising plans or switching strategies. Students who struggle with flexibility have a difficult time when they need to move to a different idea, topic, plan, or activity.  Because learning consistently relies on cognitive flexibility, not yet having this executive functioning skill can create significant problems for learners. To help your child learn how to become a more flexible thinker, you can model these behaviors:

  • When your plans change abruptly, explain your thought process for accepting the change.
  • Before transitioning to a new activity, show your child how you prepare mentally and physically for the transition.
  • When you are trying something new, explain your thoughts and feelings before and after the new experience.
  • Show your child how you challenge your thoughts to find positive ideas about a change that might make you uncomfortable.
  • Give your child two ways you can adjust to a new plan and then explain which adjustment you will choose and why.
  • When something is happening, share what your initial thoughts are and then explain how you consider what else could be happening.
  • When discussing a topic, show your child how to think from the perspective of others.
  • Share something that worries you, and then explain two possible outcomes and how you would respond to each.
  • When facing a problem, share how you think others might solve it to show how you can think of multiple solutions.