If you’re a parent you know plans changing at the last minute doesn’t go over well with kids.
Take a trip to Grandma’s house for example. They’re so excited for the upcoming visit.
They know they’ll get their favorite treats…..maybe even a present.
Then Grandma gets sick and needs to cancel.
Your child flies into a tantrum at the news. Screaming, crying – despite you telling them the visit can be rescheduled.
At some point, your child has reacted this way. Incorporating flexible thinking skills can help regulate emotions and help children through unexpected changes.
Today, we’ll talk about what flexible thinking is, why it’s important, and how neurofeedback can help.
What is Flexible Thinking?
Over the last few years, flexible thinking has become a very popular topic in early childhood development and education.
Flexible thinking is making adjustments when needed and easily shifting from one state to another. It helps you change, adapt and respond to situations better.
Imagine your child easily shifting from one thought to another, from one task to another without having a total meltdown. Flexible thinking is an important skill for anyone to have. But it’s not a skill we’re born with, so it’s especially important for children to learn. Young children don’t have the physical, mental, or emotional maturity to engage in flexible thinking.1 It must be taught and nurtured over time.
Flexible thinking has so many benefits that can help your child progress in their development as well as help them deal with change, and even get off that roller coaster of emotion when life throws a curveball.
Why is Flexible Thinking Important?
Flexible thinking is a crucial life skill. So many of life’s circumstances are out of our control, so teaching flexible thinking to children when they’re young sets them up for success in the future.
You might be asking yourself, “won’t my child just grow out of their rigid thinking?”
Many kids do mature developmentally and easily adapt as they get older but the crucial skills needed to easily go through life still need to be taught. This is why so many schools are now talking about flexible thinking – as early as preschool!
So you might be wondering why is it important for my child to learn flexible thinking?
Flexible thinking has so many benefits. It allows your child to:
- See things from other people’s points of view
- Deal with uncertainty
- Adjust to unexpected changes
- Bounce back easily when disappointed
- Regulate their emotions
- Go with the flow, especially during life’s challenges
- Get along with others
- Problem solve more effectively
- Learn new information more easily
- Think about things in a new way2,3
Teaching these essential skills can even help children become more resilient and regulate their emotions.
Think back to the last meltdown or tantrum your child had because things didn’t go as they expected. How long did it take to get your child emotionally regulated and back on track? If you have an especially strong-willed child, you’re going through this multiple times a day. It’s exhausting for everyone to constantly be on that roller coaster of emotions.
So what happens if your kids don’t develop flexible thinking skills?
Well, they can become:
- Resistant to change
- Rigid in their thinking
- Have trouble with transitions
- Have difficulty with unexpected change
- Trouble regulating their emotions1
These are signs of rigid thinking. Let’s quickly go over what rigid thinking looks like and when it can be problematic.
Rigid Thinking vs. Flexible Thinking
We’re human. To an extent we all like predictability. Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us are creatures of habit and thrive in our routines. We all experience rigid thinking from time to time in our lives. It’s completely normal for your child (or you) to have those one or two things in life they won’t budge on.
But when your child is consumed by rigid thinking, can’t adapt to their surroundings, or they’re having multiple tantrums or meltdowns a day – those might be signs it’s a problem.
When kids experience rigid thinking all the time it’s extremely overwhelming. Think about all of the things that are outside of your control each and every day. It’s impossible to not deal with some sudden change, cancellation, or disruption in your life. Simply avoiding change or disappointment isn’t practical and it’s not healthy.
If you’re noticing your child’s day is completely thrown off by a change, cancellation, or setback, working on flexible thinking skills can really help.
Change isn’t going to happen overnight. In fact, learning flexible thinking skills takes time and practice but it can help free them from the crushing anxiety and overwhelm they experience when things don’t go their way.
There are many great resources to help you build flexible thinking skills. Today, we’re going to talk about how neurofeedback can help train your child’s brain to help them become more resilient and flexible.
How Can Neurofeedback Help?
Neurofeedback is like physical fitness for your brain. You can easily train your brain to be more flexible and resilient. NeurOptimal® neurofeedback is an advanced brain training program that anyone can do. You don’t need any special training or a medical diagnosis to use the equipment which makes it very easy to do in the comfort of your own home.
When you get your equipment, you’ll get instructions and support to learn how to use it.
Once you start your session you sit back and listen to music or watch a movie. Once the device detects sudden, unexpected changes in your brain there will be a brief pause. This pause will bring you back to the present moment. Over time, this allows your brain to learn a new pathway and essentially operate more efficiently.
This advanced neurofeedback device doesn’t tell your brain what to do. Instead, it simply gives the brain information about itself and allows your brain to self-correct when needed. The brain is constantly seeking equilibrium, even a severely damaged brain. When it “sees” its own disequilibrium, it will move towards greater comfort and ease.
Neurofeedback can help train your brain to be more flexible and resilient. It’s designated by the FDA as a general wellness product and is a safe, natural, and effective way for both kids and adults to train their brains.
Not only does NeurOptimal® help your brain become more flexible, it:
- Promotes healthy sleep habits
- Helps manage stress
- Helps improve mental acuity
- Helps your brain work more efficiently
- Enhances learning capacity
- Helps you feel calmer and more confident
Neurofeedback can help your child even if they have experienced a brain injury or have a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder where flexible thinking can be particularly challenging. While NeurOptimal® does not cure any medical or psychological diagnosis, many people use it to help manage certain aspects of a chronic condition and to help them perceive life’s challenges better.
If you’re ready to learn more about neurofeedback and how it can help your child build flexible thinking skills, join us in our Facebook group, Neurofeedback Moms
Dads are welcome too! Here we support each other with parenting and learn more about neurofeedback.
- What is Cognitive Flexibility? Brain Trust.
- The Benefits of Mental Flexibility. Kelly Barron.
- Helping Kids With Flexible Thinking. Child Mind Institute. 2021.
Disclaimer: This site contains information on general health and wellness topics. Please note that Neuroptimal® has been designated a general wellness product by the FDA. The information on this site or in any linked materials should not be construed as medical advice. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations by your physician.