Eight Gifts You Can Give Your Child’s Brain

Nothing brightens my day like a baby’s contagious laugh. We can give them what they need to be happy, without breaking the bank. April celebrates the young child. These tips might help you, parents and caregivers, guide your little ones toward healthy brain development.

1. Security

You create his world. If he feels safe, he will be willing to try new things. If he is fearful, he may withdraw, refuse contact and choose to protect himself.

2. Touch

Loving touch soothes the central nervous system for both you and your child. It communicates safety and love. Enjoy snuggles, massage, and rocking while reading to her. These times are short.

3. Fuel Food

His brain doesn’t store the fuel it needs to operate. An infant’s brain uses 70% of his body’s energy. Every day it needs water, fresh fruit, and omega 3 healthy fats. These building blocks create and strengthen connections between his 100 billion brain cells.

4. Music

Both sides of her brain are active when she enjoys music. It’s a workout for her brain. She forms stronger memories when many parts of the brain are involved.

5. Movement

Your child’s vestibular system coordinates sensory input to send to his brain. Dance, skip, clap, and let him help you in the kitchen and garden. These activities provide the movement that gives each experience depth and dimension. His learning becomes multidimensional, richer and easier for him to remember and build on as he grows.

6. Reading and Language

Talking and reading with your child prepares her for reading and learning. Time with you is the best way to help her learn language patterns and support early social development. Does reading the same book over and over again get old? Remember repetition is exactly what her brain needs to learn.

7. Rest and Sleep

During quiet times his brain gets a chance to process his mountain of experiences. When he’s busy, his neurons are busy taking in sensory information. His brain’s original cells still need to be connected to one another. That happens during these breaks.

8. You!

Enjoy your time together. Give her face to face practice matching your expressions and language with everyday activities. Electronic media cannot substitute for time with you. She learns that she matters when you respond to her. Enjoy this together time and make some memories.


© Sandra Sunquist Stanton MS, NCC, LPC, Connections of the Heart LLC
 For additional articles and information, visit www.ourbrainbuddies.com or send an email sandi@ourbrainbuddies.com



Max Your Mind with Humor and More

It's better together.What a great group of good sports! Thanks to each of you for your enthusiastic participation in the crazy brain coaching activities we did at UWEC’s 25th Annual Sr. American’s Day March 19, 2013

Without regular “workouts”, our brains slow down and don’t serve us so well. It doesn’t show up in body measurements, but we definitely notice the “fade”.  We know about crossword puzzles, Sudoku, brain training software. But did you know that just laughing is a wonderful brain workout?

Every time you hear a joke:

  • The language center on the left side of your brain makes sense of the words.
  • The message then crosses to the right side of the brain where the right frontal cortex activates stored emotions and social memories.
  • It then shuffles the information until it clicks and you get the joke.
  • Next, a structure deep in the brain pumps out dopamine, a “reward system chemical” that makes you feel good.
  • Your brain stem near the base of your skull makes you laugh.

(Adapted from “Just Laugh” by Pam VanKampen of Northern Area Agency on Aging)

That’s a lot of activity for the split second it takes to laugh at a joke. How about making it a body work out without the joke?

Laughter Yoga’s been around since 1995, there are 8,000 Laughter Yoga clubs across the world. Now it’s sweeping our nation because it works out the body’s muscles, our breathing systems, and especially the brain. You don’t even have to have a sense of humor, it uses no jokes or comedy. Groups of people do simple exercises, make eye contact with each other, begin with “fake” laughter, and soon genuine laughter takes over. Someone said they feel as good after Laughter Yoga as they do after a good cry. Endorphins flood the brain connections, and everyone has a great time. In Eau Claire, Jodi Ritsch M.D. will be starting a new season of classes next summer in their new center. For details, go to www.LifeByDesign.com.  Jodi says, “If you can breathe and laugh, you can do Laughter Yoga.” You Tube examples can get you started with some friends or even by yourself. Give it a try!

Humor Heals! Research studies detail many cases, including Norman Cousins’ where people successfully beat their ailments through humor and nutritional support. Cartoons, jokes and funny stories work more of your brain than simply reading. It can tune our minds, help us learn, and keep us mentally loose, limber and creative.

Seniors at our workshop listed their top 20 sources from “Good Old Days on TV”that they turn to when they need a good laugh:

I Love Lucy, Carol Burnett, All in the Family, M.A.S.H., Smothers Brothers, Dick Van Dyke, Seinfeld, Howdy Doody, Sheriff Bob, Art Linkletter’s “Kids Say The Darndest Things”, Bill Cosby Show, Jackie Gleason, Honeymooners, Three Stooges, Little Rascals, Amos and Andy, Red Skelton, Jack Benny, Laurel and Hardy, and George Burns.

Reaction was mixed on slapstick, but it was fun remembering together.

The “real” Dr. Patch Adams tells us, “We have to get people laughing because:

  • It provides balance in people’s lives
  • It helps people cope better
  • It helps them stay well

Laughter is powerful!”

Some thoughts for the road…

“Each humor event you experience makes you grow a little bit…the brain has expanded and taken on new connections.” William Fry, M.D.

“Humor is something that causes a tickling of the brain. Laughter is invented to scratch it!” Hugh Foot

What makes you laugh?  How about the grandkids?




© Sandra Sunquist Stanton MS, NCC, LPC, Connections of the Heart LLC

For additional articles and information, visit www.ourbrainbuddies.com or send an email sandi@ourbrainbuddies.com

Welcome! Brain Coaching to Max Your Life

Mind Maxing: Where Body and Spirit Merge for Peace

Mind Maxing: Where Body and Spirit Merge for Peace

Welcome Back to Brain Coaching!

Thanks to all of you who have continued reading the archived blogs. It feels good to be back posting current information after lots of help from tech professionals.

While away from the blog, I struggled with Breast Cancer and am cancer free, Praise God!  It was a long, difficult, but revealing journey, which left me with peace, insight, and trust in God. My husband has been dealing with lung cancer since 2009–never a smoker. Accepting the things we can’t change has been a spiritual workout for both of us, but we are stronger for it. We are so grateful for friends and family who supported us daily in prayer and with thoughtful acts we didn’t even know we needed. Now we are ready to resume “new normal”. Each day is indeed precious.

Brain Coaching remains my professional focus.  Neuroscientists at Boston’s Learning and the Brain Conference asked educators to translate their life’s work into usable information and bring it to the people who can benefit.  I’ve been Brain Coaching ever since. As a school counselor,  I was often asked “Why do they/I do those things?”. While we tried to keep a positive focus, this question often led to blame, shame, guilt, and no resolution to the problem. When we looked objectively instead at the brain’s role, needs and operation we were better able to find positive,  effective solutions.

My neuroscience background got an extra boost when the B.R.A.I.N. Team of Eau Claire County, a group of professionals I volunteer with, received “First Five Years” training from the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families. While research studies are behind the information we teach, our audiences seem to prefer learning from experience based stories and hands on activites.  Works for me!

The alphabet soup behind my name?

NCC- Nationally Certified Counselor NCC since 1984

LPC -Licensed Professional Counselor LPC (Wisconsin License)

BCC- Board Certified Coach – National Certification for Heath and Wellness, Life and Personal Coaching

Since I “retooled” Connections of the Heart LLC after retiring from school counseling, I’ve been studying, speaking, writing and coaching with a backdrop of neuroscience— Brain Coaching. I received my Board of Certified Coaching (BCC) certificate in 2012. What can I say? I’m addicted to learning, and look forward to working with you. I’d love to speak for your group, write an article for your publication, or become your thinking partner and encourager through 1:1 Health and Wellness Coaching.  Hard to believe this weeks’ “Max Your Mind with Humor and More” was my 93rd presentation, which over the years have taken me across the US, to Canada, China and long ago to Bitburg Air Base in Germany.

My schedule and list of publications are posted on my website. I’d love to add yours to the list!

This blog will offer tips rotating monthly between

(1) Early Childhood for Parents and Caregivers
(2) Boomers and Better
(3) Educators

Brain Coaching will be the common thread at all these levels. I’m hopeful that we will be able to learn from and encourage each other. Please feel free to comment, raise your questions, and share things that work for you.

Can’t wait to hear from you!


 ©Sandra Sunquist Stanton NCC,LPC,BCC, Connections of the Heart LLC For additional articles and information visit www.ourbrainbuddies.comor email sandi@ourbrainbuddies.com






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