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FLIP-It for schools and home-schooling parents.

Module 4 - P is for Pattern Breaking

Module 4 of the FLIP-It Thinking model, helping parents and children to spot and build on their great habits and change a few of the unhelpful ones. For more modules and topics go to our online learning page.


So far we’ve looked at the F L and I of FLIP-It Thinking. This week we’re moving onto … you’ve guessed it: P for Pattern Breaking.

Sarah Creegan: Introduction to P for Pattern Breaking

Sarah Creegan explains why it’s important for children and parents to build on their great habits and to FLIP their not so helpful ones.

Victoria Maitland: Pattern Breaking Hack

In order to change the way we think, recognise the patterns of behaviour that you might be in and make the decision to try something different. Victoria offers personal some step by step advice on how to start this process.


Reading time approx. 5 mins.

In these top tips, we recommend that families think about their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Which ones are helping them to cope at the moment, which ones aren’t and what to do about it.


The P in Laughology’s FLIP-it Thinking model stands for Pattern Breaking.

We all have automatic ways in which we think, feel and behave. We’ve developed these habits over the years and, in the main, they’re helpful.

However, we also all have thoughts, feelings and behaviours which aren’t as helpful and may be a bit ‘wonky’. Perhaps we believe we’d be rubbish at something that we’ve never even tried - so then we won’t give it a go at all!

During lockdown, why not chat as a family about the things that are helping you cope and what you’d like to do more of? Also, what isn’t helping and what you can do about it?

STOP! Know which unhelpful habits you want to change

  • It can be tricky to break existing habits, so FLIP them instead. Rather than saying, ‘We’re going to spend less time on our phones’ say, ‘Twice a week, we’re going to switch our devices off and watch a film or play games together.’ For more tips on how to change your Language see Module 2.
  • Being in lockdown has shown the many benefits of being able to get lost in a book for hours. If you previously thought it was important to competitively march your child through the school’s reading scheme, you may now want to focus on helping them develop a love of reading.

START! Think imaginatively to create great new patterns of behaviour – see Module 3 for more tips on how to use your Imagination.

  • People who regularly challenge themselves, find it easier to cope when they are challenged by others or by tricky situations. So, now’s the time to move away from your comfort zone! Perhaps you and your child have always wanted to juggle? Or learn to speak Spanish for that next holiday (hopefully in the not too distant future)?

By learning new skills we:

  • Get better used to dealing with, and learning from, failure
  • Find it easier to manage a range of emotions, such as overcoming frustration
  • Develop greater determination
  • Now we know that, sometimes, even healthy, helpful habits may have to change – through no fault of our own! We REALLY hope that you don’t run out of toilet paper. But, if you do, it’ll help to think flexibly, outside-of-the-box (and the bathroom) and, if possible, have a bit of a giggle. Have a look at the DO! section to see what Laughology’s Ed will use when his loo roll runs out.

CONTINUE! Know which existing habits you want to carry on

It’s funny isn’t it … before lockdown, many of us were very happy slobbing about on our sofas watching the telly, until we were told that’s what we had to do!

  • Decide which activities you’ve really enjoyed during this time and want to continue once things return to ‘normal’. Maybe it’s everyone sitting at the table to eat together? If not daily, a few times a week? Or you might want to carry on lunging with Joe Wicks - which doesn’t sound right somehow!
  • Going forward, we may want to continue getting out as a family once each day. Not only for our physical and mental wellbeing, but also because this time has reminded us of the importance of chatting and being grateful for the simple things in life which, before now, we may have taken for granted.


Here, we set you some family challenges to boost your imaginations. Why not download the PowerPoint and watch the film clip to see how to get Thunking. Or look at the lesson plan to find out more about Positive Visualisation.

Ed’s Loo Roll Thunk

Sometimes, even our most healthy, helpful habits may have to change. With supplies running low, what would happen if you ran out of loo roll? Break the pattern, think outside-the-box (and the bathroom)! What else could you use around your house?

Powerpoint – Title: Family Challenge – Creating Great New Can-Do Behaviours

When tricky situations come along, children (and parents) who enjoy being out of their comfort zone find it easier to cope. Here, we challenge families to learn something new – and have a bit of fun!

Can I push myself to complete a challenge?

Having done the family challenge, here’s one for your child to do independently. Not only will they be building more of a can-do attitude, they’ll also be so busy practising that they won’t notice you replying to emails. Everyone’s a winner!

Coming up...

Next time we’ll be looking at ways that parents can help their children to stay safely connected with their friends and family.

Free virtual workplace learning & development classrooms. Register now.

big chat about mental health logo


Are organisations and companies just paying lip service?
Join some of the most interesting and respected voices in positive psychology for our Our Big Chat about…Thinking outside the tick box, inaugural webinar. Our two and half hour interactive event will look at the best mental health strategies for organisations, identifying what works and what doesn’t.

Dave McPartlin:

Dave is the Headteacher of Flakefleet Primary School.
Creating the right environment for people and communities to flourish

Sunita Hirani

Sunita is one of the BBC’s key equality, diversity and inclusivity experts.
Why inclusion is essential for mental wellbeing

Professor Sir Cary Cooper

Cary is one the world’s most influential voices in occupational health and wellbeing.
Enhancing Mental Wellbeing at Work. Evidence based strategies for creating a wellbeing culture at work.

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