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Inspiring Brain Development For ALL Young Children
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Issue: #4
Issue: Brain Safety 
October 2009


I am thrilled to let you know there has been another large increase in the number of people receiving the braininsights newsletter. Through your sharing with others we are gaining new subscribers interested in learning about and distributing information about the importance of early brain development! The braininsights newsletter is received in Canada and throughout the US! Each issue includes interesting brain facts, updates, and information you can share in an effort to make brain development common knowledge. Subscribing to this free newsletter provides insights to help make a positive difference for the children you know... and for your community!
It is so exiting to work together to make a positive impact on the development of all young brains! The braininsights and Positive Parenting group on LinkedIn is also growing every day. There are wonderful people from the US and other countries contributing to the discussions.
Thank you for being a friend of braininsights and being part of creating a greater awareness of the difference we all can make!

If you have topics of interest that you would like to see focused on in upcoming newsletters, please contact me at!
Deborah McNelis
Owner and Creator of braininsights

PS: braininsights received this feedback...

"This is absolutely unequivocally completely and awesomely is one of the best resources and newsletters around. THANK YOU!"  
                                              -- behavior specialist
Did you know....?

...... a baby's brain can pick up on the emotions of others in the environment in fractions of a second.

 how you use your voice can activate different areas of the brain. If you shout commands and demands it will activate areas of the brain as if threatened. Play, laughter, and a calm voice will make the caring systems of the brain active.

....... the brain can only pay attention to one thing at a time. For example: The brain cannot read and listen to someone speak at the same time.
Tell everyone you know!!
Doesn't it feel wonderful when you feel safe and secure? 
Do you realize your brain is continuously scanning the environment to determine if you are safe?  Most of the time we are unaware that our brain is doing this safety check.

Last week I saw a young child very frightened to walk into a store because it was filled with Halloween decorations. He was very uncertain about what he would experience.  The boy's mother knows from her repeated experiences it was going to be safe to enter the store.  He needed the adult in his life to help him feel safe.

Through repeated experiences our brain learns what feels threatening and puts us in a state of alert and stress to respond if we need to. Our brain also learns from repeated experiences about what is safe and comforting.

Not only does the brain monitor the physical environment for safety, it is also very sensitive to the safety of relationships.

Author Mark Brady, Ph.D often writes about one aspectMom and son of this emotional safety.  He calls it, "The Big Brain Question".  He explains that the ONE question we all want answered is, "Are you there for me?".  When this question is answered with, "Yes", then our brains can relax and feel safe.                           

However, when the people in our lives are inconsistent and there is little predictability from the people in our lives this creates insecurity. The brain responds to this uncertainty through releasing stress hormones.

When we feel threatened or unsafe the sympathetic nervous system activates our flight or flight responses. When we feel safe the parasympathetic nervous system instead activates the relaxation response. These two systems work to make adjustments to maintain a balance by releasing hormones. If the stress hormones are active in the brain too long, it may damage brain cells in the memory area of the brain.

The word "stress" is simply short for "distress". The area of the brain that primarily deals with stress is the limbic system. The limbic system is often referred to as the emotional brain.

As a result, science reveals how critically important it is to developing brains to create a sense of security and safety. The repetition of caring and consistent relationships contributes to the foundation in the brain for emotional control and self regulation.

We need to ensure every child experiences the following every day:

~ A loving adult that responds warmly and consistently to needs for support and attention

~ Regular routines, including healthy nutrition and sleep

~ Opportunities for fun interaction, play and laughter
    (Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones)

~ Calm, caring, interactive communication rather than 
     demands and commands

~ Lots of hugs and snuggles

For further information read:

Effects of Child Maltreatment on Early Brain Development

Nature Essential for the Brain, Scientists Report

Laughter is the Best Medicine

If you are aware of additional articles on this topic that others can benefit from please forward them to me and I will share with braininsights readers! 

If you are a parent or a professional working with children and families you can get activity ideas on how to easily incorporate loving interactions into a daily routine and learn how it all benefits brain development by visiting for The Brain Development Series.

Your organization or workplace will also benefit from learning more about the brain. To arrange a presentation that fits your needs, contact Deborah at
Ziggity Zoom 
* Deborah became an advisory board member for a new parenting website,
 *Write a review of braininsights on or Merchant Circle.
* Registration is available for two new brain development trainings-- 
Reach and Teach the Adolescent Mom, November 11, and Watch Me Grow, November 14, at  Contact us to book this or other brain trainings for your agency, school, organization or business. 
* New ways to promote brain awareness will be coming soon.  Watch for more information in next month's newsletter!!
* The braininsights website is undergoing a makeover.  Watch your inbox for information on its reveal. 


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Offer Expires:  November 30, 2009