What is Neuroplasticity?
The word “neuroplasticity,” which comes from the words “neuron” and “plasticity,” describes the brain’s amazing ability to change how it works and how it looks.
Neuroplasticity also refers to the brain’s capacity to rewire itself by establishing new connections between neurons throughout life. Your capacity for learning and adjusting to new circumstances depends on this trait.
Neural pathways in the brain are engaged in every single thought and action, whether it’s a toddler or an adult. Along these brain pathways, groups of neurons connect at regular intervals and send and receive information through special points called synapses.
It was previously thought by neuroscientists that the brain’s growth and development of neural networks happened mostly throughout childhood and then completely ended during adolescence. However, recent brain imaging techniques have revealed that neuronal connections in the human brain continue to grow and strengthen throughout a person’s life.
Still, children are more susceptible to the effects of their surroundings than adults because their energy levels are higher and because they may form brain pathways (both positive and negative) more quickly. That’s why it is important to develop neuroplasticity at a young age.
It is also important for parents and teachers to understand neuroplasticity because energy, chemicals, experience, and the environment can all affect how a child’s brain grows and changes.
How does it help children?
The term “neuroplasticity” refers to the brain’s receptivity to change and adaptation. This starts at birth and continues on throughout one’s life. It’s believed to be the foundation for many of the mental, emotional, and physical skills that grow throughout the early stages. Neuroplasticity can help kids in numerous settings.
Neuroplasticity is increasingly being recognized as a crucial factor in shaping a child’s capacity for learning and memory. For instance, studies have revealed that children who are exposed to educational enrichment experiences have different brain development than children who are not. These changes affect the brain in many ways, including increased brain activity, new connections among cells, and modifications to the brain’s physical structure.
According to some theories, children with brain injuries may benefit from neuroplasticity as well. For instance, if a child has a stroke when their brain is still developing, they may be able to regain some of the lost function. This is due to the increased plasticity of the brain during the early years.
This shows that neuroplasticity is an important part of a child’s brain development and intellectual growth. It’s also linked to the kid’s emotional and motor growth as well as other areas of their development.
Ways to Develop Neuroplasticity in Children
The best way to stimulate neuroplasticity is to expose one’s brain to unusual situations. Keeping your mind active and malleable requires challenging it through new experiences and information. Here are some strategies to help parents help their children develop neuroplasticity:
1. Challenges and new experiences are great for their mind – Get them out of their comfort zone, acquire new knowledge, and test their strength. They will find that this stimulates their mind to construct fresh interconnections and pathways.
2. Get them enough sleep – The health of their brain, among other organs, depends on getting enough sleep. A person’s memory and cognitive abilities improve while they sleep.
3. Keep a regular workout routine – Physical activity, like exercise, has several positive effects on brain health. For example, it increases blood flow and makes growth factors, which help make new brain cells.
4. Encourage them to have a balanced and nutritious diet – Nutrients from a balanced diet are essential for optimal brain functioning.
5. Teach them how to deal with stress – It’s important to find ways to reduce or deal with stress because long-term stress can damage the brain.
Activities to Try!
Choose something that will push your child outside of their comfort zone but is still something they care deeply about. Do your best to include exercise in your schedule on a regular basis. Changes in the brain can be helped by things like a healthy diet, daily exercise, and spending time with other people. Also, here are some activities you can do with your children:
- Practice mindfulness
- Take them on a trip to a new part of town, state, or nation.
- Do something cultural with them, like visiting a museum or attending a concert.
- Prepare unique meals or explore new musical genres with them.
- Encourage them to get music lessons and play an instrument.
- Practice a new language.
Awareness of neuroplasticity can give you and your child incredible advantages. As a parent, you will know from firsthand experience how much your child can learn and grow.
Your child’s brain will make more neurons (brain cells) and synaptic connections in areas that are used often when a skill or behavior is practiced. However, repeated practice or neuroplasticity therapies won’t guarantee your child will be the best. But it does mean that they will be better than they otherwise would have been or might have been without making that effort.