Likely you are already familiar with the term “Neuroplasticity”, but let’s review it anyway because it sounds like fun! Neuroplasticity is defined as the brain's “ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.” Basically, this means that our brains can be “reprogrammed” to learn new things. Did you know that most human learning occurs during the first three years of life? Our neural pathways are all pretty much laid out by the time we pick out our first backpacks. Our brains will continue to learn and grow; however, the neural foundation is already set.
Have you ever wondered why it is so much easier for young children to learn a new language than it is for adults? I’m sitting over here with my Rosetta Stone, glass of cabernet (don’t judge, I’m more fluent when I’m boozed up), and scratching my head as I try to figure out how to roll my Rs; and my toddler is shouting out all the colors in Spanish after one Dora episode. This is because her amazing little brain is still quite capable of forming new neural pathways then my old, dusty brain. I can still learn Spanish, it is just going to take more effort and time to rewire my brain.
How does this relate to your child’s sleep? The reason I’m going on about this is because it is important that we understand how and when our children learn. All the information that is presented to our babies and toddlers’ during the day needs to be processed and retained into their memory. This happens while they sleep!