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Issue: #15     



September, 2011


With the start of a new school year for many children, this is the perfect time to focus on all that is good for developing brains!

Getting back to a regular routine is a positive aspect of the back to school time of year. However, the morning routine is often the most challenging.  The article I have included in this issue provides tips for helping the day begin with the brain in mind!

With the beginning of the school year, I have a new initiative to share. It is called, Creating Great Connections. It is designed to initiate all aspects of a community easily working together for the optimal development of all children.  To find out more about how you can bring this presentation to your community, send me an e-mail. I will be glad to send you basic information about how you can start creating great connections in your community.

As always, I have included several very valuable resources for you. I sincerely hope you find them beneficial to support your efforts to make a real difference for children.

Thank you once again for being a friend and supporter of braininsights!





Deborah McNelis

Owner and Creator of braininsights

P.S. If you are a new parent or know a new parent ... I have an exciting announcement below you will want to see!   

Did you know....?

 ..... Activities that are too advanced or too easy do not support optimal brain development.

 ..... Physical activity and nature provides numerous benefits to the brain and contributes to optimal learning.


  ..... Children feel comfortable and secure when provided with expressed expectations, routines, and the predictability of limits.


  .... The easiest time for the brain to learn a second language is during the pre-school years. 

Tell everyone you know!!  
Back to School with Brighter Brains ...

and Better Mornings for Families!


Parents, did you know brains like routines and do not like chaos? Thinking about the start of a new school year can invoke dread or relief depending on the amount of routine you establish for your family.

Mornings certainly can be a trying time for families. As a caring parent you have the challenge of trying to get a lot accomplished in a short amount of time and want to leave home with everyone in a positive mood, ready for learning ... and all wearing shoes!

Through understanding brains and trying some of the following tips, you will be able to reach this goal!


Establish daily routines


Consistent routines that happen in nearly the same way each day, provide a sense of predictability for young children. The brain feels comfortable and safe when it knows what to expect next.  



  • Set a schedule. When children know what happens first, next and last, this reduces the need for you to give constant reminders. Children become more self-directed as a result of an established routine.
  • Start the routine with a healthy breakfast. Eating a well balanced breakfast that includes protein provides the brain with the nutrients to function well. Research shows children who eat breakfast have a more stable mood throughout the day.

However, eating sugary cereal, doughnuts, or sweetened juices will result in the brain needing food again only 30 minutes later. The brain then feels stress and releases stress chemicals. As a result a child may experience feelings of agitation, aggression, and anxiety. Young developing brains do not yet know how to control all of these feelings. This is why it is called, "out of control" behavior.

  • Ensure everyone has had enough sleep. Sleep enhances cognitive functioning and influences moods. Having enough sleep contributes to a more positive mood. When the brain lacks the sleep it needs, brain systems become out of balance. Children's (and adult) brains become more easily agitated when sleep deprived.

           Do all you can to keep bedtimes and bedtime routines

           as consistent as possible. 

                     *Provide calm activities like reading a book,

                       giving a massage, taking a warm bath,

                       or listening to soothing music as part of the

                       bedtime routine.

                     *Eliminate watching television or using other

                       electronics with bright lights prior to

                       bedtime routines.

                     *Provide "brain calming" foods as a bedtime

                       snack such as warm milk, a banana, toast

                       with almond butter, or oatmeal with a bit of

                       peanut butter added.


Realize that your child doesn't have a motivation to get out of the house quickly.


A child's brain prefers to play, have fun, and to spend time with you. Your mature brain has the

ability to override your desires to sit and have another cup of coffee, read the paper, take a

walk... etc.



  • Use games to help motivate children. These also create a fun time spent together before having to separate for the day.

Game Example:

       STOP AND GO

         Have your child start to get dressed, Say, "Go".

         Tell the child to keep going until you say, "Stop".

         Repeat this with varied long and short and long periods

         of time getting dressed.


  • Turn on upbeat and fun music. Encourage your child to finish dressing by the time a song ends.
  • Use empathizing statements with an understanding tone of voice, such as, "I know, sometimes you don't like to get going early." Or "I understand how much you would rather be playing right now." Sometimes just acknowledging feelings helps a child to cope with a situation.
  • Provide choices. When children are given options and are more directly involved in an activity, this results in more cooperation. For example: Ask, "Would you like to brush your teeth first or comb your hair first?".


Children's brains pick up on emotional atmosphere very quickly.... And react to your stress level.


Reduced levels of stress lead to better memory, better problem solving, and increased ability to pay attention.


  • Reduce stress levels by doing as much as you can in the evening. You can give baths, pack diaper bags/school bags, read/sign papers sent from school, prepare your work bag and lunches, lay out clothes, socks, shoes, and jackets.
  • Make sure everyone has adequate amounts of sleep. Sleep enhances cognitive functioning and influences moods. Having  enough sleep contributes to a more positive mood and increase learning abilities. When the brain lacks the sleep it needs brain systems become out of balance. Children's (and adult) brains become more easily agitated when sleep deprived.



Following are articles, websites, and books to provide additional interesting and valuable information:   




STUDY: Learning A Second Language Boosts Toddlers' Brain Function





Census: Parents Reading More With Their Children 


Doctor believes in the importance of play



Great Resources for Parents:     


 The Anger Toolbox for Kids    



Two Valuable New Books:  



Raising Happy Healthy Babies by Kim Corrigan-Oliver


The Good, The Bad & The Difference by Michael Sabbeth 



Blogs and Websites:  


Imagination Soup  


A Healthy Place      

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 hoefits 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


Announcing the NEW   

Brain Insights App!!!     

Love Your Baby is now available as an App! 

(click here)


It is the perfect way to help busy new parents! 

In the first two weeks it has already been purchased

in 8 different countries!!   


What a review! 

Huge Thanks go to Vivien Sable


 Independent Review by Vivien Sabel 

author of The Blossom Method™ - A revolutionary parenting/baby book (publication date June 2012). UKCP Registered Psychotherapist, Clinical Supervisor & Researcher.



Do you know.....The SPANISH version of The Brain Development Activity Packet Series is also available!    


 * You can receive insights delivered directly to your email inbox.  Sign up here to receive updates from the braininsights blog.

Early Childhood Brain Insights Blog* Are you spreading the word with, The BRAIN Initiative? Is is now on the Early Childhood Brain Insights blog weekly! You can easily help create awareness. Thousands throughout the world are sharing the weekly BRAIN Insight!

   NEW FEATURE: If you have a question about one of the brain facts or other area of brain development, leave a comment or email me and your question may be answered in the next blog post!

Naturally Developing Brains is the newest brain activity packet. It provides activities to use with pre-schoolers and information on the benefits of nature for the brain. Proceeds go toward nature pre-school efforts.
Your program can also use these as a
fund raiser while promoting
nature learning!

Nature packet cover 


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Brain Development Activity Packets

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Offer Expires:  September 30, 2011