Thursday, November 28, 2013

Brain Insights  www.braininsightsonline.com
Providing More For You! 

Numerous spectacular events have been taking place for Brain Insights. ... AND there are even more coming! 

In addition to the excitement of letting you know of new products....Brain Insights is working on other new projects I am extremely anxious to share with you as soon as possible!!!

A new innovative product that is being developed, is going to make an INCREDIBLE difference for young children .....and make parenting EASIER!! Sorry.... It is not possible to tell you more yet.... but you can be assured, you will hear about it!!  I will be so extremely thrilled to let you know about it as soon as I can!!! AND ... you will soon have the opportunity to become a member of a group that will be making a difference for children ... worldwide!

In the meantime here are other exciting things you can take advantage of NOW! 

There is a NEW series of Brain Development Activity Packets available!! 

Redleaf Press has collaborated with Brain Insights to create a New Series of brain packets for Early Childhood Educators!!! 

These make it so easy for caring professionals to have activity ideas and brain information right on hand for each age from birth through five!

These packets debuted at the National Early Childhood Association Conference in Washington, DC!!

New Brain Packet Series from Redleaf Press http://www.redleafpress.org/Brain-Insight-Cards-set-of-6-P1005.aspx

Redleaf Authors

In addition to having the wonderful opportunity to present to dedicated and caring professionals coming from all over the world....
Several Redleaf Authors also had the chance to network! 
Check out Rainbows within Reach & Ooey Gooey Lady
Can you tell how fun that was?!!

  Brain Insights has relocated!

The new location makes it possible to easily and conveniently provide brain presentations, workshops, and trainings to additional locations. I am so Looking forward to booking with your company, organization, school, or agency to make a positive impact! Simply send an email to deb@braininsightsonline.com

Brain Insights Presentations http://www.braininsightsonline.com/pages/about-us


What is Better Than Helping a Child Thrive?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Play is essential to the healthy development of children. It is the way the brain learns best. It provides the movement that is critical to overall development. It leads to optimal social/emotional abilities. Due to the importance of play in helping a child
Brain Insights -- GREAT Play ideas from a play therapist!  More ideas from www.braininsightsonline.com
thrive, I invited a Kate Drummond to share her knowledge and expertise in a guest blog.

Enjoy the insights and ideas she has provided here for you! 

Kate has been working with children as an occupational therapist for 16 years.  She is certified in Sensory Integration by the University of Southern California and Western Psychological Services.  Her therapy company is, About Play, and she is the co-founder of the Healthy Foundations Program. 

Helping Your Child Thrive:  Engagement of the Sensory Systems through Play

By Kate Drummond, OTR/L

 Engaging with your child in a playful way is highly beneficial for her development, from early infancy, through childhood, and into teenage years.  Not only does it foster an emotional connection, but it can also help to build crucial foundational skills for academic learning. 

As a sensory integration certified occupational therapist, I help to teach families how to connect with their child while engaging the seven sensory systems:  touch/tactile, visual, auditory, movement/vestibular, position/proprioceptive, smell/olfactory, and taste/gustatory.

Listed below are several activities that you can use with your child to provide a sensory-rich experience for them in their development. 

  • Massage:  Use a gentle, natural oil, such as grape seed oil, to massage your baby or child after a bath.  As he gets older, teach him how to rub the oil into his own body. 
  • Provide a variety of textures for her to explore on: Provide different soft blankets for your infant to explore on during tummy time, and have cuddly toys or “lovey” blankets available for your child.
  • Beach trips or visits to a sand box:  sand provides a great tactile experience for children—but if playing in a sandbox, make sure that it has a cover.
  • Provide opportunities for messy play: Provide regular opportunities for your child to get messy, and be aware of your own sensitivities to mess.  Take it outside, or play with the soap foam or shaving foam on the tub tiles for easy clean up if mess bothers you.

·         Provide black and white objects early on:  Hang mobiles over the crib or over the changing table, and provide black and white toys during early infancy.
·         Opt for natural or soft lighting whenever possible, avoiding the use of fluorescent bulbs:  This type of lighting is easier on the eyes and nervous system.
·         Provide games or a moving object that help your child follow your face
·         Use bubbles:  Stimulate and engage the visual system.
·         Use an easel:  This optimizes visual development while your child is learning how to paint and draw.
·         Play with balls—a variety of sizes:  Bounce, catch, throw, and kick to help with eye-body coordination.
·         Play flashlight tag:  While lying down, tag and chase lights projected on the ceiling or wall.

  • Play music during the day:
  • Play “freeze dance” as a family or with friends: This builds coordination, engagement, and releases pent up energy. 

         * Freeze Dance is a game that you play by doing freestyle dance while listening to music.
            When the "controller" stops the music, you must freeze your body in the spot, and don't
            move until the music starts again.  The controller can call you "out" if you move while
            the music has stopped.  

  • Use white noise: This noise can provide a soothing effect for sleep and can help to calm a fussy baby.

       * White noise can be provided by tuning into static on the radio, you can use the noise of a
           fan, or you can even buy a sound machine (at Target or Bed Bath Beyond) that provides
           soothing noises or white noise options.  

  • Allow for several opportunities to move in the day— helps child gain coordination, and allows her to be more focused for seated play/school work when older:
    • Allow babies tummy time and play on the floor.  This helps to develop gross motor coordination and bilateral integration of both sides of the body and upper and lower parts of the body.
    • Use baby swings and rock your baby in a rocking chair.
    • Allow children movement opportunities on scooters, trikes, and bikes throughout the day.
    • Use the swings on the playground—respect your child’s fear and don’t go beyond her comfort zone.
    • Allow for 45-60 minutes of movement before having your child do his homework.  This will allow for greater attention and focus. 
    • Pool time!  Swimming promotes coordination and healthy movement.

  • Provide tummy time for babies:  This builds muscle and helps visual development.
  • Provide play with tunnels: Encourage crawling as soon as your baby starts.  This play is also beneficial after your child can walk—it stimulates both sides of the brain and provides great opportunity for coordination.
  • Provide climbing opportunities in a safe environment:  Use simple playground equipment: ladders, rope ladders, and rock climbing walls for older children.  This type of feedback helps to “organize” the nervous system.

Smell (Olfactory)/Taste (Gustatory)
  • Provide natural aromatherapy in your home with essential oils:  Different aromas can evoke emotions, and even promote health.  For example, lemon, lemongrass, or other citrus scents can be uplifting, and lavender is more calming.  Avoid artificial or synthetic scents. 
  • Provide your child with healthy food options
    • Introduce your baby to healthy tastes.  Homemade, organic options are great to introduce your baby to when he is exploring food.  Freeze large batches in trays for defrosting perfect portions.
    • Provide your child with the opportunity to have many different healthy choices, and even if your child will not eat them, continue to offer the food.    
    • Have your older child become involved:  Grow veggies if possible, and/or have your child help to wash/prepare/handle/cut the food.  If there is fear around food, approaching it in this way is especially helpful.  Celebrate smelling and tasting the food versus “cleaning the plate.” 

Other Considerations
  • By modeling a healthy lifestyle for your child, you provide a great role model.  Providing regular play, exercise, nutritious and balanced meals; engagement with your child will greatly help him create a solid foundation in his life.
  • Some children have sensory processing differences that cause them to be sensitive to environmental stimulation (noise, touch, movement, taste and/or smell), to be clumsy or have coordination difficulties, to have low body awareness/high pain threshold, or sensory “seeking” behaviors. Frequent meltdowns with difficulty recovering can also be a sign of a sensory processing problem. If your child presents with any of these behaviors in a way that impacts his functional performance at home or in school, I recommend seeking an occupational therapist who is skilled or certified in sensory integration to help determine if your child can benefit from services. 

Kate enjoys providing lectures for parents and teachers, consulting with parents, and playing with children.  She lives at home with her husband, 3 children, and dog in Atlanta, Georgia. 

You can find more out about her on her website www.aboutplaytherapy.com, follow her on Twitter @about_play, or Facebook under Healthy Foundations. 

Have A Great Time Playing!!!

For more play ideas for everyday life go to www.braininsightsonline.com

Essential Dreams for Our Children!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Last week while watching a special on television I became even further inspired. It was a program reflecting on the achievements, and of course the dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As the program ended, I stated, "I want to create a nationwide (actually worldwide) movement for children!" 
Of course as you know my goal is to have EVERY adult understand the extraordinary opportunity we have to develop children's brains in healthy ways!

So as I went to bed that night, I planned to write an, "I Have a Vision" blog. The next morning, when checking my email I see a blog post entitled, "Dare to Have a Dream for Our Children." by Cindy Terebush. Because, I immensely enjoy thoughts Cindy shares, I was excited to read this post. It was the same concept I had planned to write!  

With enthusiasm I let her know that I could not wait to share what she had written! She gave me permission to share it. So here is an excerpt and a link for you to enjoy and share! 

Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and shared his dream of freedom and equality.  It was a moving and bold speech that provided a defining moment as African American people fought for their civil rights.  Today, Barack Obama – the first African American President of the United States -  stood on those same steps to pay tribute to Dr. King.  We may still have a way to go but thanks to visionaries like Dr. King, we have progressed. 
Be a visionary with me and dream for our children.   They are growing up in a world that makes me concerned for the adults they will be. 

  • I have a dream that children will play in front yards again and watch ants crawl in the grass.
  • I have a dream that those children will be safe enough to ride bikes through their neighborhood and come home when the street lights come on.
  • I have a dream that children will play on swings and try to get over the metal bar while staring at the clouds.
  • I have a dream that someone will realize that standardized testing proves nothing except that humans have the capacity to memorize and so they will be abolished.
  • I have a dream that the lockdown and evacuation drills become unnecessary and our children feel safe in their schools.
  • I have a dream that young people will be able to just be who they are and not fear telling people that they are gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgendered.
  • I have a dream that technology will do what we thought it would – save us time and not use so much of it that we have no time to watch the birds fly, the leaves blow and the waves hit the shore.
  • I have a dream that community becomes a priority once again so that people walk away from their computers and value time talking in the same room.
  • I have a dream that we teach our children that doing good in this world is more important than winning the dance competition or sporting event.

Dare to dream … 

Click here to go to Cindy's blog to benefit from all she has to share! Enjoy!

My vision is that we ensure that every child ...
    Brain Insights Visions for Children
  • begins life with a very loving, and 
  • consistently responsive caregiver.
  • benefits from a safe, predictable and chaos free environment.
  • is always respected as a unique and special individual.
  • is provided with the healthy nutrition, sleep and opportunities for physical activity that their body and brain needs. 
  • has the opportunity for self directed play throughout each day.
  • experiences nature every day.
  • is valued every moment. 
It would be wonderful to hear what visions you would add! 

Simply LOVING.....

Monday, April 8, 2013

The title I have given this post is .... Simply Loving!  

This really is what life is simply ALL about!! 

 “A baby is born with a need to be loved and never outgrows it” 
~ Frank A.Clark

One of my greatest desires is for every baby to start out life feeling loved! It is what the brain needs most....  and we do never outgrow the need to feel love. 

But, if a baby gets the needed love early in life... it leads to the benefit of feeling love inside throughout life and having less need to seek it elsewhere.

Due to this I am beyond thrilled to share something new I have created. It came from my heart for the benefit of all babies. The information and link are below. 

But..... I just watched what I feel is an fantastic piece from Nic Askew at Soul Biographies and wanted to first share this with you. I follow and SO admire Nic's work. He provides very moving films that I love!! And thought you may enjoy and benefit from this one in particular. 

Nic shares:

The fascinating thing about many riddles is that you can stare at them and completely miss their point. And often, a riddle will fool you into the illusion of understanding. A short film about the nature and whereabouts of joy.

THE RIDDLE OF HERE / words also by Nic


We're looking. For something so simple.

So simple, that we can't hold it in
our hands. Or in our heads.

So we look to him. To her.
To them. To there.

We look to everywhere
but here.
To when. To then.
But not to now.

It's hidden just beyond
our cleverness.

So we presume it's
out there.

But perhaps it's in here.

Hopefully you enjoy it as much as I have!

Announcement of Something New:

Loving a Baby Prints

Now Available to promote the need babies have for love!

The inspiring message combined with the beautiful photo makes it perfect to frame and hang in baby's room. It is also sturdy enough to use this heartwarming poster in early childhood centers, parenting programs, and physician's offices without framing. These wonderful prints make a very affordable caring way to easily share the message everywhere!

There are
Three Beautiful Versions for you to choose from! 

Every baby thanks you!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Question from a Mom:

I am so tired!  We just moved and my baby isn't sleeping. He usually sleeps through the night, until now. Do you think the move is affecting him? He is only a BABY why should it bother him?

These are some of the thoughts your baby might want to verbalize if he could.

"Dear Mom,

Moving is very stressful for me. You are so anxious and busy. It feels like you don't love me and are too busy for me. Am I bad or did I do something wrong?  I was so familiar with our old house. This new room is so scary and the noises are all new and different. I feel overwhelmed. Where are my old friends, my room, my toys? I just feel sad. I wonder if I will I ever feel better.  If you can leave an apt or house, perhaps you can leave me too!  When I miss you I wonder if you are coming back , I am not sure?”

Brain Insights:

Your baby is expressing some very real feelings that are very natural as a result of the change in his life. As a caring parent, it is wonderful that even though you are not sure, you have considered that it could be the move that is affecting your son’s sleep.

Understanding a couple of areas of early brain development may help address your excellent questions.

1. Brains adapt to the environment they are most exposed to. Through repeated experiences a baby’s brain learns what to expect from their surroundings. The brain actually creates connections based on these repeated experiences. Your baby has adapted his brain to the sounds, people and familiar objects of your previous home.

2. Brains also are primarily focused on survival. All brains are constantly unconsciously scanning the environment for safety. It determines if the environment and the people in it are safe. The brain becomes alerted if there is something new or different. Until it decides if the new situation or objects are safe, the brain stays on alert.

Through this understanding you will better be able to help your son adjust and feel comfortable in your new surroundings. You can provide verbal reassurance. You are the person he depends on most to keep him safe. He has to rely on you to let him know if he is in a secure situation or if he should be frightened. So, in addition to your verbal reassurance, he will also pay a great amount of attention to your non-verbal expressions and feelings. The more you are calm and show comfort in the new home, he will begin to learn this is a safe place and will relax.

This trust and dependence on a parent is clearly evident in the Visual Cliff 
Experiment by Joseph Campos and shared by Mind in the Making.You can watch it here and get a better idea of the very real impact your actions have on your baby.

Ava Parnass from Listen to Me Please
provides additional valuable insights: 

One of the first things I learned about in college was the Hans Selye scale of stress. To this day it still stays with me despite all the other amazing interesting things I have learned and am learning since. Selye put moving to a new place,  death and divorce right at the top of the list of the stressors that families experience. 

As a baby-child psychotherapist for over 20 years I have seen how moving is just as stressful for babies and children as it is for adults. The stress of moving can cause some new or regressive sleep problems for your baby or toddler.  

As adults, we tend to stress over the details and even though babies and young children don’t stress as much about those details, they will feel the anxiety from you and also feel their own anxiety that such enormous change causes.  Moving is totally disruptive — new room, new house, new school, new caregiver -babysitters, new friends, etc. And let's not forget, the noises are different. New things are scary and most of all the grown-ups are preoccupied. 

Babies, toddlers and preschoolers thrive on routine, so when those routines are disrupted, it can make babies anxious and have many feelings that are keeping them awake at night.  Babies and toddlers lack the words and self-awareness to articulate their feelings. They may show a variety of different behavioral signs and ways expressing their feelings.

Things you could do and say:

1. Show me pictures of old house during the day. Play; Bye Bye old house, Hello new house. Connecting a picture to a feeling and event facilitates learning.

Say: "I know you must miss your friends and your room. Missing is a hard feeling." (empathy)

"I am sorry. Soon you will feel better and I will help you." (empathy and hope)

2. You can role play with stuffed animals, use a play crib, have animals  sleeping in the new bed and room during the day. This works even with a baby.

You play all the roles, keep it brief, and make it fun. Role playing helps kids cope with hard feelings and transitions, and helps build resilience.

3. Say, “Mommy (Daddy) always come back, but houses we say good-bye to sometimes.”

Repeat frequently during the day.  (empathy and building object constancy, that grown-ups do come back)

4. Keep in mind when babies are adjusting to a new sleep routine in a new home, an additional factor in not sleeping can be daylight saving time and time zone shifts. So adjust the routine accordingly.

5. Try to make sure that the first month or so after your move is as “normal” as possible.Try to minimize the amount of changes in the first weeks of the move.

6. You may have to start or restart gentle sleep training with Emotional Intelligence.
(e-book and a new book, Time-In not Time-Out coming soon, Ava Parnass)

A: Sit by bed for a few minutes as your child settles in at night after your regular routine bath book cuddles etc.

B:  When the baby cries say 2 lines with no affect (feeling)   (parents need to  make night time not interesting but at the same time feel safe and secure)

Say, "I love you, I know moving is hard and I bet you miss your old things!"
“Mommy or Daddy always come back to see you when you wake up. We will have fun and play in morning when the sun is up.”

7. Keep the routine as regular as possible throughout the day. Of course bedtime routine will be most important to keep consistent. 

8. Spend time in your son’s room with him. When you or he hear a sound, verbalize what the sound is. For example: “You hear the water running in the kitchen, don’t you?”  Or, “I hear the clock from the living room can you hear it? It sounds like it did at our old house doesn’t it?”

9. Arrange the furniture and belongings in your son’s room as close to the way it was in your previous home as possible. As you put things in place you tell your son, “This is like it was in your room at the old house isn’t it?” 

10. Make sure you provide fun interaction time together throughout the day, so your baby gets the attention he needs. Brain Development Activity Packets provide an extremely easy way to have ideas right on hand. Each activity also explains how it is good for your son’s brain development. Which will help relieve some of your worries! 
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