One day during my maternity leave with Kari, almost 4 years ago now, a neighbor came over with some items her granddaughter had outgrown. There were some outfits, some blankets and one Baby Einstein DVD. I hoped she didn’t see my horror. Chris and I weren’t against television, just this type of television.
The Baby Einstein DVD sat for about a month on the bookshelf. Finally, Chris and I were curious about all the hype behind this stuff and popped it in one day. Kari was in her bouncy seat about 4 feet from the television, while Chris and I flanked each side of her. I don’t know what we were expecting, with the way we were bracing ourselves, you’d think we just committed a crime.
Our pediatrician explained about these shows and was adamant about no television until after 2 years, at minimum. She said infants have a defense mechanism – being alert to change. So, these children’s shows play on that with their changing images and colors. The babies can’t look away while watching because their defense mechanism is telling them to pay attention, and the parents misinterpret this as the kid loving it!
This story just came out for the local news. It’s only a half page, but if you couldn’t read the whole thing, here is my favorite quote:
“In fact, one controversial 2007 study suggested that “educational” videos and DVDs for the very young, such as Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby, might even make them dumber by impeding word acquisition.”
These shows babble and use “baby talk” along with their flashing images. Again, something our peditrician warned us about: baby talk. She said to talk normally. So, we all did. And, guess what? Kari has been speaking in full sentences since 18 months and no one, strangers or family, has trouble understanding her.
It’s about spending time with your kids! Be practical folks! Education takes a long time. These videos aren’t going to make your kid a genius – you are! Invest in their education. Read to them always. Embrace their curiosity. The television didn’t teach Kari how to read, or speak German, or count and add. It was a lot of hard work by Chris, my parents and myself.
So, what happened after we flipped on the Baby Einstein video? After 2 minutes, the vivid images gave me a headache, and the noises were annoying, so we thought Kari might feel the same, if she could only talk. We ended up throwing it away.