Foster Your Baby's "Genius" (not through TV)

Foster Your Baby's "Genius" (not through TV) 1There's a new article out in Times Magazine entitled "Baby Einsteins: Not So Smart After All." The synopsis of the article is that products like "Baby Einstein" and "Brainy Baby" may be "doing more harm than good" and that they may, in fact, "delay language development in toddlers."

Here's a snippet from the article:
Led by Frederick Zimmerman and Dr. Dimitri Christakis, both at the University of Washington, the research team found that with every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants learned six to eight fewer new vocabulary words than babies who never watched the videos. These products had the strongest detrimental effect on babies 8 to 16 months old, the age at which language skills are starting to form. "The more videos they watched, the fewer words they knew," says Christakis. "These babies scored about 10% lower on language skills than infants who had not watched these videos."

Instead of plopping your baby down in front of the tube:
A. Read a book.
B. Go for a walk and describe what you are seeing.
C. Play "Patty Cake", "This Little Pig", and "Itsy Bitsy Spider."
D. Turn on some music and dance with your baby.
E. Mimic the sounds and facial expressions that your baby makes.
F. Go about your daily routine with your baby in a carrier and verbalize your tasks ("We're doing the laundry. First, let's fold the blue shirt...").

(Photo by: Werther)

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3 comments on “Foster Your Baby's "Genius" (not through TV)”

  1. Rebekah - you mentioned that the Baby Einstein movies (and similarly marketed products) are "not for infants." That's an important distinction, but one that many companies choose to ignore. Even the title itself ("Baby...") seems to beckon parents to plop their newborn in front of the big screen.

    I enjoy when research like this surfaces, not because I hope that everyone immediately bans television from their lives, but because it allows for an important and healthy discussion to occur about being a savvy and smart media consumer.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. I agree with Rebekah. I don't make it a habit of putting my kids in front of the boob tube, especially my youngest (25 months). One of her favorite DVDs, however, is Baby Einsteins On the Farm. She talks to it and repeats all the words and sounds. She even learned a new word yesterday - windmill. Everything in moderation. This mama of three needs the TV, once in awhile!!

  3. I understand that tv is not the greatest idea (see my preschool television information) but my children have learned great vocabulary by watching the real vehicles on Baby Einsteins On the Go. They also have learned animal names and the hum the music. Those darn pediatricians always want to take away a good thing! But these are not for infants! Just play the music without the visual- that is great for brain waves!

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