Pretend Play Builds Brains and Relationships

Remember creating a “fort” out of blankets in the house or over the clothes line? Maybe it was a can to can string phone?  Pretend Play does great things for your child’s brain! Playing “dress up” or “tea party” or “Pirates” is very important “work” for their developing brains.

What is Pretend Play?

Children learn through imaging and doing. While they play, they test what they have learned from talking with parents and watching the world around them and make it their own– how things work, and what doesn’t.

Playing face to face, with your child– encouraging them to lead and explore, with you as a playmate following and their lead– gives you a window into the way their brain is learning about the world.

Often it involves new uses for common items.  Remember how they can get hours of fun out of empty boxes? Sometimes they prefer the box the toy comes in to the toy itself. Their brains love being creative with bowls, spoons, blankets, wood blocks, puppets, dolls, play figures and dress-up clothes.

How can play boost the brain?

They actually learn to solve problems, coordinate, cooperate, and think flexibly while “building” a post office in the family room, creating a restaurant, clomping around in grown-up shoes, becoming a pirate or teacher of stuffed animals, or building a stick and rock structure outdoors. What fun to exercise their growing imagination as the sandbox becomes a dinosaur bone excavation site!

 

 

Play with your child!

How do I play with my young child to build her brain?

Parent sets up the play environment but lets the child determine the course of play. The parent doesn’t model or drive the interaction, but follows and responds to the child’s choices

Pediatrician, Dr. Dipesh Navsaria says, “Children need to interact with people, not products.” Parent-child interaction is our most effective brain building activity. He suggests scaffolding play. When we resist the urge to tell them what to do, how to play; their brains kick into action. Encourage exploration and laugh together when things don’t turn out as planned. Ask, “What could we try to make that work?” rather than suggesting a solution. When they come up with it themselves-especially after many attempts– they will be justifiably satisfied.

Scaffolding builds on what the child has already figured out—using open-ended questions to move them to the next level. Help him go from “what he knows” to “what else could he know?” Let her lead the play – who says what, and the unfolding story.

Add Music

Music and movement ramp up brain building benefits. Make up songs together about what’s going on. Find ways to sing and dance while picking up toys, bath time, sorting laundry, cooking and anything else making it fun. Call and answer sounds and gestures, move to music by skipping, hopping, galloping, or twirling. There are no limits! Pretending with music, movement and laughter will grow brain connections while you make marvelous memories! Pretend play needs flexible time. Maybe leave the make-shift post office set up for a few days so the play option remains. Concepts they learn for themselves will last, and your relationship will grow. Great investment!

Resources:

Dr. Navsaria – http://www.navsaria.com/home/index.html

Bright Horizons – http://www.brighthorizons.com/family-resources/e-family-news/2013-importance-of-pretend-play-in-child-development/

Pretend Play- http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/creativity-play/importance-pretend-play

 

 

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Sidebar

 

Remember these 5 steps to help build your child’s brain.

 

  1. Look Look into their eyes and follow what they are looking at even before they can talk.

 

  1. Follow   Let them lead play while you follow, responding to their words, sounds, actions and ideas

 

  1. Chat  Talk (or sing) out loud to them about what you are doing together.

 

  1. Take Turns Encourage them to watch and copy you talking, playing or exploring, and you do the same.

 

  1. Stretch Ask “open” questions Build on what your child says by asking “open questions” like “What do you think about that?” “How do you feel about…?”

 

Adapted from downloadable tips from Vroom: Brain Building Basics

http://www.joinvroom.org/sites/default/files/Vroom%20Brain%20Building%20Basics_1.pdf

 

 

 

Humor to Boost Business Climate

Successful businesses work hard to create a comfort zone for both customers and employees. How can we reduce the fear factor, increase productivity, encourage collaboration, enhance creativity and problem solving, and build relationships? Researchers tell us humor can do all of this and more.

How is this possible? Understanding where they’re coming from:

The brain’s “internal security system” called the “Amygdala” is tagged with keeping us safe and alive. When we encounter a threat, this system flies into action shutting down everything we don’t need for immediate survival—thinking, digesting, empathy, compassion, resting, immune system, social skills, coping, and many others.

Have you ever noticed difficulty with problem solving, decision making, collaboration, productivity, and general well-being while stressed? Laughter releases chemicals that shift our brain’s energy forward to the thinking brain or Prefrontal Cortex. Voila! Mental clarity!

A Brain Workout – Every time you hear a joke:

Just as the body’s muscles can fade when they aren’t exercised regularly, the brain needs challenges to stay sharp. Hearing a joke sets off a split second complex process that extends to other people.

  1. The sound enters your ear.
  2. The Vestibular system sends it to the language center in your left hemisphere
  3. That auditory center makes sense of the words.
  4. The message zips across the Corpus Collosum to the right hemisphere where the right frontal cortex stores social memories.
  5. The hippocampus processes emotion.
  6. Dopamine surges the brain’s reward center (Nucleus Accumbens) and you feel good.
  7. Brain stem takes over the muscles that make you laugh
  8. Your brain spreads the good feelings to others whose brains are “tuned in” to yours.

This explains the “you had to be there” effect when we try to recreate the connection for someone else who didn’t share the original funny experience.

Social Connections

In our own brains, the cells that fire together “wire together” forming connections between them. The same thing happens between people when they share an experience – telling a joke, completing each other’s sentences; their brains fire together, laying the groundwork for relationships. Connections form between two people just as neural pathways between parts of a single brain.  Relationships between friends are strengthened when we laugh together.

Laughter is contagious. At the sound of someone laughing, our own brain responds. Our own internal “Happy Juice Factory” releases – Dopamine, Serotonin, and Endorphins to give us a natural rush—free, legal and no “residual” problems. Rely on laughter early and often!

Creativity – Problem Solving

Several researchers document the benefits of humor on creative thinking. Robyn McMaster’s study noted that finding new connections is at the core of both humor and creativity—so they complement each other.  “In fact, humor is highly correlated with both creativity and intelligence … A dose of humor releases the chemical serotonin in your brain, which improves focus, increases objectivity and improves overall brainpower.”   (A Dash of Humor Ups Performance and Creativity at Work by Robyn McMaster, PhD. Brain Based Biz, Sept 2008)

 

Problem solving improves in a similar way. Exercising the brain through humor keeps it agile and ready to view novel solutions.  (Positive affect facilitates creative problem solving” by Alice M Isen, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1987, 52, 112-131)

Humor Heals

Finally, the health benefits of humor have been documented for centuries.  Norman Cousins wrote about healing himself of degenerative arthritis during the 1960’s through reading humor books and watching comedy shows– Three Stooges and Charlie Chaplin and massive doses of Vitamin C. (Anatomy of an Illness 1990)

In business and in daily life, humor creates healthy resiliency and success. When we can see the humor in challenging situations and poke fun at ourselves, even setbacks have their benefits. “She who laughs, ‘lasts’.”

Print Resources:

  • Humor, stress and coping strategies by Millicent H. Abel (study 2002)
  • A Day in the Life Your Brain by Judith Horstman (2009)
  • Wake Up Laughing by Rachel St. John-Gilbert (2011)
  • “A Dash of Humor Ups Performance and Creativity at Work” by Robyn McMaster, PhD. Brain Based Biz, Sept 2008
  • “Positive affect facilitates creative problem solving” by Alice M Isen, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1987, 52, 112-131

Online Resources:

  • http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456 April 21, 2016
  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/22/laughter-and-memory_n_5192086.html
  • https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1C1CHWA_enUS605US605&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=businessolver%20west%20des%20moines
  • Humor boosts overall brainpower. “A dose of humor releases the chemical serotonin in your brain, which improves focus, increases objectivity and improves overall brainpower.” by Andrew Tarvin http://www.humorthatworks.com/benefits/30-benefits-of-humor-at-work/
  • “Give your body a Boost with Laughter” by R Morgan Griffin, WebMD 2012

 

 

Trust in Kauai – Zip lining.

Living my zip line dream on our Hawaiian vacation taught me to trust.

Living my zip line dream on our Hawaiian vacation taught me to trust.

Zipline Solo photo

“Just keep walking until there’s nothing under you, then sit down and enjoy the ride” I waited ‘til last in line,  grabbed the strap with both hands, took a deep breath and walked off the platform at 10,000’. A hundred shades of green, mountain peaks, ponds and waterfalls lay below me, but I was too busy trying to steer and land feet first to notice them on that first run. Bundy told us later that was the highest point on Hawaii’s garden island– Kauai. I was zip lining! Whoo Hoo!

The gear felt surprisingly heavy at first, but I was thankful for every ounce when it carried me. “Keep your hands off the cable! Only hold the strap, not the metal clip above it. Just relax into the harness. It will hold you.” Bundy told us. “Steer with your knuckles. Turn them toward your knees. Feel the tension like steering into a slide when driving on icy roads.” Good advice, but how do they know about icy roads in Hawaii?

My word for 2014 is Trust. What a way to push off for the year! Letting go at those heights? Yes, I was shaky, and grabbed the strap as if my life depended on it– well, it did. But that strap and harness would hold even when I let go. My energy was better spent enjoying the view and the experience.  That’s my take away for my Trust year.

The first run was the shortest. They got longer, lower, and more fun when I remembered to exhale and relax into the ride.

We had a great group—lots of laughter and encouragement. The young couple always made perfect landings; experience was with them. Margaret and Bill from South Bend and I took photos of each other, soon to be shared between us. Jean and Walter quickly picked up the steering strategy.

John knew what to expect because he had done the same runs a few years earlier with his daughter. While we waited for the shuttle, he honored me by sharing their story. She would have been with him again, had she not passed a few months ago. This time he dropped a lock of her hair on her favorite run. My heart goes out to their family.

Randy was our strong and very upbeat Hawaiian “catcher”. I panicked on my first run when I came into the platform backwards, but soon learned he “had my back”.  Trust feels great. I felt no more fear, just exhilaration at actually being there and fulfilling my dream.

By the fourth run, I let go of one hand, and finally drank in the breathtaking view. Steering didn’t matter anymore. I wanted to remember this first zip line experience. My husband chose the ground tour so he could get some great photos, which we are enjoying now. I hope we will come back and zip line together. Now to Hang Loose for the rest of 2014.

 

 

 

 

Digging for Hope

Colors wink at me today where monster weeds and tangles of roots drowned my spirit just over a month ago. My garden brings me hope for a fresh start.  A couple of years ago I was climbing out of post-chemotherapy fatigue when the snow disappeared. This year our snow hung on well into May— ramping up our excitement to celebrate spring. I can count on the garden to give me the boost I need after low times. It’s a special gift to my spirit.

Clearing flower beds of choking weeds and roots felt personal for me. Uprooting weeds satisfies something primal in me. I love liberating the garden from invaders. Do I sense an urge to clear paper piles? Oops, this might be contagious…

We relished trips to garden centers. The pungent smell of moist earth greeted us. Our senses swam with all the textures and colors; fuscia, blazing red, indigo, happy yellow, and stark white. Let’s see, which ones did well last year in the shade?  Sun? and which perennial plants made it through our hard winter?

Digging in the dirt calmed my monkey mind. Rich, freshly composted soil under my fingernails signaled my connection to the earth. Clean black soil seemed to restore a peace in my soul. ..

Time in my garden has become an active meditation for me, accompanied only by birds’ songs. Silence is healing. My cancer-prevention medication brings on drenching sweats—on non-humid days. Now, with high humidity, dripping sweat and sore muscles, my body protests. The work is a stretch, but it  feels good, because I know beauty and joy will follow. Finally in mid July, dozens of shades of green set off the parade of color in our 6 gardens. I’m outdoors first thing in the morning and last thing at night, drinking in the freshness and smells of summer. Fireflies sparkle and surprise at days’ end.

Weeding and coaxing my garden back to life is an annual ritual I trust. It’s even more meaningful now that the cancer is completely gone. Not long ago, I ripped open a new seed packet and retrieved just one seed.  Carefully tucking it just below the surface of the soil, I covered it with a bit more soil and watched and watered it in my sunny window garden—planting for the future. It’s amazing, really, that new life will spring from that.  A few weeks ago, I planted the whole tiny pot in my garden, and it’s already growing fast.  Now the tiny plant is ready for “real life” outdoors. New beauty, new hope. Another miracle, just like each new year in my blessed life. Thank you, God!

Where do you find hope? I’d love to hear about it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sandi

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

 

Getting Restful Sleep Naturally

It's better together.Rumble strips jolted me back from drowsy driving on my afternoon commute.  The sun and hum of the road had lulled me into a trance after I sat down for the first time all day. The bridge rail came way too close for comfort. Guess I need to get better sleep at night.

 

A study recently released by the National Sleep Foundation cites 27% of adults are sleep deprived. Another of their studies cites 1/3 of American adults are losing sleep over the economy. Most of us struggle occasionally, so I’ve personally tested steps to make falling asleep easier. Here’s what worked for me:

1. TV and internet before trying to sleep

Our eyes, ears and brains are very active while we’re focused on electronic screens—translating pixels and sound bytes into thoughts, pictures, emotions and words.

Some even fall asleep with the TV on. That light blocks the brain from relaxing into the deep sleep that restores the body and brain.

Many people choose the printed page or e-reader instead. The words stay put, and our imagination supplies the pictures. Cool-down time for eyes and brains helps us relax and drift off to dreamland. You’re on your own if you choose suspenseful novels.

2. Consider Circadian Rhythms

During seasonal changes—especially this year– many folks struggle with fatigue. Our body’s circadian rhythms—or body clocks–take some time to reset when we switch to Daylight Savings Time. Traveling through time zones and getting up with children also compromise consistent zzzz’s. The body’s systems work better when they know what to expect.

3. Pump it up early

Walking, Pilates and Yoga keep my Fibromyalgia under control most days. When I miss stretching, my body protests. On days when I don’t get enough exercise, particularly outdoors, I have trouble falling asleep. During and following activity, the heart pumps oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells, which then seem happier—provided I don’t overdo it. If I exercise too close to bedtime, I have trouble wind down. Returning to a resting heart rate takes time after a workout, so I pump it up earlier in the day.

4. Be gentle

Raiding the fridge before bed? Choose carefully if you’d like to sleep well. Sending more than 400 calories to your digestive system before going to bed is asking for heartburn and wakefulness—for many of us. That pizza or big bowl of ice cream doesn’t work for most folks. Something light with carbs might help set it free to rest.

5. Easy Does it.

During sleep, the brain sorts and files all the experiences and information we’ve packed in during the day, saving the important stuff and discarding the rest. If we go to sleep still chewing on regrets or worries, that filing job doesn’t stand a chance.

Just when a good night’s sleep seems urgent for a clear head the next day, I can count on waking up in the middle of the night. The insistent message gets stuck in my head: Get back to sleep!  You don’t have much time…sleep fast!  Shift the focus… I’m glad that I’m at least I’m getting some rest. Thinking positive and listing blessings instead of sheep might work. After 20 minutes of struggling to fall asleep, try getting up and doing something else for a little while. A magazine or journal might help clear the chatter and clear the way for some real rest.

6. One muscle at a time

Progressive relaxation usually helps too. Lying flat in bed it’s easy to scrunch up one set of muscles—say the head and face—hold it with the breath, then completely relax on the exhale. Every muscle in the body communicates with the brain. Moving through the body with this process sends a clear signal to the brain to let go of the day’s stress.

These tips could also rescue our mental health and relationships. We become impatient with ourselves and cranky with everyone else when our brains don’t get enough deep sleep. Processing all the day’s information and emotions is the brain’s main job while we turn the thinking off.  It’s busy choosing what to keep and file into long-term memory, and what to toss. Without enough sleep to clean up the “filing cabinet”, my brain feels as cluttered as the top of my desk looks.

Waking up naturally refreshed is priceless. The new day has so much to offer when we can be fully present and tune in to all the details. Creating a sleep routine that works best for you can be challenging, but your body and brain will thank you.  Who knows, family, colleagues and friends might wonder what you’ve been up to. How does an oatmeal raisin cookie and small glass of milk sound to you?

Check out these websites for more specific information to be your own best sleep detective:

www.sleepfoundation.org National sleep foundation offers tips to help establish a sleep routine.

www.webmd.com Web MD provides links to other websites for additional tips and sleep aids.

© 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

What about “Why?”

shutterstock_9626632 writing pigtailsKids—and the rest of us–all make mistakes on the way to learning. We ask “Why?” but they can’t answer. It’s tough to come up with a safe answer to that question. The response “I don’t know.” is accurate, but doesn’t get us anywhere.  An excuse leads to frustration, shame and blame. A lie starts a dangerous spiral into unhealthy choices.

Brain Coaching uses a different approach. All behavior has a reason, and it’s our job as educators to figure out what they need and find a way to provide for it through our planned learning experiences. Maybe the boy needed to move, and he couldn’t think of a way to do it without bothering others. Those girls might learn best by talking about what they’re learning, but that wasn’t part of the plan, so they got in trouble for talking to each other.

As a school counselor, the most effective solutions seemed to involve knowing and applying what researchers have told us about the brain—what it needs to do its best job. No shame or blame necessary. Researchers have unlimited information that can help us, but who wants to read those intimidating studies?  Brain Coaching has helped me help people of all ages.  Educators, parents, and seniors can make better choices for our kids and ourselves with that information translated into something we can actually understand.

When we confidently work on problems together, without threat of failure, the brain works much better.  The almond sized Amygdala–our internal security alarm– stands at attention watching for anything that has scared us in the past. When it comes around again, that small part of the brain sets in motion a process that shuts down access to the Cortex, or thinking brain. In that mode we aren’t able to access anything we’ve learned, and we won’t take away any new lessons from the experience.  That explains why we really “don’t know” what we did wrong.

Instead of a guilt trip, the child needs support to calm the central nervous system. The Sympathetic “Fight, Flight, or Flee” System must settle down, so the Parasympathetic or “Rest and Digest” System can take charge and access to the whole wonderful brain and all it’s learned so far. Some ways to make that happen include:

  • Deep breathing,
  • Going for a walk outdoors,
  • Reading some light material, and
  • Laughing – On purpose, even without a joke. It is great exercise!

We can then be our best selves and move ahead solving the problem and gaining wisdom from the situation.  What works best for you? Please share your best ideas with the rest of us!

Thanks for stopping by! More Brain Coaching suggestions for schools will follow in future Educator Blogs.

Sandi

© 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

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?

 

Sandi

 

© 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!

Sandi

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