As young people get older, they develop the skill of thinking more flexibly. This helps us to think about things in different ways and is a key part of problem solving. Being able to see things in different ways and from different perspectives helps us to develop different strategies. It helps young people to manage their thoughts, actions and emotions in order to get things done.
Some young people struggle with flexible thinking. You might be scared of change or get easily frustrated if things don't go as you want them to. You might get stuck doing one activity and have trouble finishing this and starting another, for example switching from lunch time to the classroom. You might struggle more to see other peoples point of view, or find it hard to think of other ways of doing things if you like to do it a certain way.
Take a moment to think about some of the things you like, such as certain foods or parts of your morning routine, that you don't like to change. Are there things you can do to be more flexible?
Good news alert! Like anything, there are things you can do to help build flexible thinking. Try these tips:
1. Try the "What's this?" game. Find an ordinary object like a funnel, and see how many different things you can pretend it is: a party hat, a trumpet, a unicorn horn. Be as creative as you want!
2. Read riddles and jokes. Often words can have more than one meaning and riddles and jokes that play on word's meanings can be really confusing. You can work on this skill by reading or writing riddles and puns and working out what it might mean. Try doing it with your parent/friends and make it into an act of conversation. Doing this will also help you to see other's peoples views of the same thing which will also help to increase flexible thinking!
3. Make up new rules for games. There is more than one way to do things, practice seeing alternatives by making up new rules for games. For example, play a game of football and have all the players kick with their weaker foot only, or pick a game like Connect Four and change the game to connect six.
4. Find more than one way to do everyday things. If you do things in a certain order, make some small changes. For example, change the order of your morning routine around, take a new route from home to school or to your friends, sit at a different spot on the couch.
All of these will help you to build flexible thinking. This will also get easier as you get older as often we learn these skills with practice and time!
What is thinking flexibly? It is the ability to think about something in a new way.
Watch this video to find out more!