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The child’s adaptive capacity

On many occasions, you have heard that children adapt more easily than adults to the changes that may occur in their lives. Whether it is the birth of a brother, meeting new friends, a move… and, in recent times, the new events that the pandemic forces us to carry out in our daily lives.

But is this concept real or just a feeling that has no scientific basis? Neuroscience can give us the key, since there is a specific period during childhood in which neurological plasticity is greater due to the fact that the brain is in training, which allows greater flexibility in the cognitive capacities of the human being.

After birth, and in the first years of life, neuronal immaturity is very marked and this requires, and in turn allows, neuronal remodeling through apoptosis and the myelination process.

At birth, more neurons are produced than will be used throughout our lives and, therefore, the body performs the biochemical process known as apoptosis or programmed cell death that allows a refinement of neuronal circuits. Through external and internal stimuli, the most competent circuits will be the ones that last.

The myelination process acts in the different brain areas in the first years of life, configuring a network of connections between brain areas and cognitive abilities. By promoting brain activity through its stimulation, we will make this network richer, thus favoring neural development.

However, these psychobiological skills that allow the child to adapt to the environment in which he is born and develop in the first years of life are totally associated with emotional factors, so there may be numerous differences between people depending on the child’s emotional abilities.

We can conclude that, due to a biological tendency, children have more facility in the adaptation processes than adults and that these adaptive abilities can be improved by training our brain and our heart in the adaptive strategies of cognitive and emotional processes, making the most of the neuronal flexibility during the early childhood.

Therefore, for those parents who have a hard time the first days of school or who do not know how children will react to the arrival of a little sibling at home or to a process of change, we want to convey a message of tranquility, since your children are more prepared than us adults to adapt to any new situation.

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