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Issue: #8
 Love and the Brain Issue!

February 2010


This month we celebrate relationships and love. It is my greatest dream that every baby born is welcomed and lives in an environment of love and nurturing. This issue is focused on the very real difference relationships make on the brain throughout life.

The bright vision I have for creating brain awareness in 2010 is beginning.  Many of you received the announcement of the new BRAIN (Brains Require All Investing Now) Initiative. As a result numerous people have forwarded the information and have contributed to creating further awareness of the impact we can easily have on early brain development. I would like to once again thank each of you for your contribution to this valuable effort and you can still join the BRAIN Initiative by clicking on Join Our Mailing List.

The REAL difference we can all make through working together throughout this year is beginning to create a decade of dramatic changes for ALL children!!

Watch for the next BRAIN Initiative announcement ~

Also, there is a video clip I will be posting on the development of Emotional Intelligence on the Early Childhood Brain Insights blog. Sign up so you won't miss the updates.

Deborah McNelis
Owner and Creator of braininsights

Reader comment:

"This just gets better and better!
I am teaching Foundations of Early Childhood Education and am supervising Practicum 1 this semester. I will be quoting you and sharing the website with students as truly reliable, up to date information for early care educators/providers and for parents."

                    ~ Meg Gleason, Instructor Child Development
                        Milwaukee Area Technical College

Did you know....?

feel good chemicals are released in the brain through loving interactions.

.... the body and brain will stop growing if there is a lack of touch.

....... families and cultures that express warm physical affection have fewer issues with anger and aggression.

..... Researchers who examine the life histories of children who have succeeded despite many challenges, have consistently found that these children have had at least one stable, supportive relationship with an adult early in life.

Tell everyone you know!!


"The law of love could be best understood and learned through little children" ~ Mahatma Gandhi

With Valentines Day in February we put a lot of attention on relationships and love.  The symbol we associate with this day is the heart.  But, most people do not realize how much the brain has to do with relationships and the love we experience in our lives.  Additionally, only a small number of people realize the impact the first 18 months plays on the love of self and others.

Sciheart and headentific research demonstrates that a child's early development is determined by his daily environment and experiences, rather than genetics alone.  Through this research we know the brain will then adapt to a negative environment just as easily as it can adapt to repeated positive experiences.

Love is one of our primary needs. Our survival depends on our attachment to a caregiver.  Warm, responsive caregiving not only meets an infant's basic, day-to-day needs for nourishment and warmth, but also responds to the child's preferences, moods and rhythms.  Recent research suggests that this kind of consistent caregiving is not only comforting for an infant, it plays a vital role in optimal mental health.  The way that parents, families and other caregivers relate and respond to young children, directly affects the formation of the brain's neural pathways. Dr. Harry Harlow demonstrated this in a dramatic way with his famous experiment with monkeys. View a video on this research here.

This does not end in childhood. As adults these early experience create our expectations for relationships.  Those of you that are signed up to receive my blog may have read the post titled, Providing Predictability and Love.

The impact this can make is the primary reason I started braininsights, and my favorite packet in The Brain Development Series is, Love Your Baby.  Due to this I am offering a way to spread the love even further this month!  You can purchase, Love Your Baby at a 50% discount with the coupon code LOVE. This way you can purchase one and give another to a program or individual at the regular price of one packet!

For further information on learning about relationships and the brain:

Learning from Interactions Right from Birth  - Imitation 10 minutes old

Oxytocin- The Brain's Love Hormone

Happy Parents, Happy Kids

Social Cues Learned Early

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


* Vote for the Early Childhood Brain Insights Blog as a Top Baby Blog. Just click here and you voted! 
Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs

* Vote for the Child Care Aware Network to win a $250,000 Grant from Pepsi to fund the "Parent Essentials for Your New Baby" Training.  You can vote once a day every day until February 28.   Vote here today!
Celebrate Children license plate
*You can now help support the Celebrate Children Foundation with the purchase of braininsights activity packets! For more information visit the Celebrate Children Foundation website.

* Upcoming braininsights presentations include, the Wisconsin Health Start Association Conference, the MAEYC Conference, and a Panel Presentation at the Community Conference on Mental Health Issues and Early Childhood Education.  View the entire presentation schedule here and book or attend a presentation today!

* Recent blog posts at Early Childhood Brain Insights include Brain Development and Reducing Obesity Through Routines and Smiling in Haiti? A Wonderful Example of the Need and Benefits of Play!  Read these posts and more here and sign up to receive new posts delivered directly to your inbox. 


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50% OFF

Brain Development Series

Use Promo Code: LOVE
at check out at  

Offer Expires:  February 28, 2010