Sunday, May 11, 2008

Educational Videos for Babies

So I'm trying to gather info for my thesis (just for my bachelor's degree, don't get too impressed!) which is on the effects of television on an infant's brain development. Dvds like Baby Einstein have received a lot of static due to parents claiming to be misinformed by their product. ("So why isn't my 11-month-old not fluent in 3 languages yet? I sit him in front of the tv at least 8 hours a day...") Then there are those studies that show educational television viewing may even cause delay in language development, and therefore advise no TV for children under the age 2. Being a new mom with a very active and inquisitive growing boy, I find that really difficult to do and always feel a tinge of guilt when I pop in that Baby Einstein DVD as a last resort when I realize I'm at my wit's end and desperately need my OWN "timeout". I know face-to-face interaction with my son is always best for his development, but if the face he's having to gaze at looks puffy-eyed, irritated, impatient, frustrated, or a frightening combination of all four and then some, how can that be a positive learning experience for my son? So all you mothers out there, experienced or not so experienced, what's your opinion? Is it "okay to push play" once in a while? What do you know about videos like Baby Einstein? Are you for them or against them? Could they be used as another learning tool, or is it too much stimulation for their growing minds?(I guess they are now linking too much television at a young age to ADD or ADHD!) But could there be some value--even if just passive entertainment for my baby so mommy can have a little break--to these shows? Personally, I try to limit Evan's 20 minute "show time" to no more than once a day-if that.
Well, I'm still trying to decide what direction I want to take. I'm hoping to find a way to keep Baby Einstein in my son's life and not feel guilty about it at the same time. Do you think it's possible? Please leave your comments or if you find some interesting articles about it, let me know! THANKS!

5 thoughts:

Theresa said...

OK, so I totally agree with you that a show here and there during the day is appropriate for kids (even under 2) especially during 4:30-5:00 when everyone is falling apart, holding onto my legs while I attempt to make dinner.
I will say, that they have done studies and (if I remember correctly) the average child watches 3 hours of TV per day- which is sad.
But even with that said, when I was pregnant with Eva, Madeline was only a year old. I was COMPLETELY out of commission with morning sickness....for 7 months. During that time Madeline watched TV ALL DAY LONG, while I laid on the couch and threw up. They could have done a TV study on her :) She literally watched it from day to night and would take her nap in front of the TV. SO SAD!!! I feel totally guilty as a parent for those 7 months of Wiggles, Dora, and Blues Clues she was exposed to....but so far no ADHD anywhere in sight. In fact she just tested into NYC's Gifted maybe I should be letting Owen watch more! :)Ha.

Lisa said...

Julie, I hereby absolve you of guilt for letting Evan watch a Baby Einstein once in a while!! You are doing just fine! My kids probably watch a couple hours of TV a day (it is on more than that, but they get bored and stop watching). Mothers want to do what's best of course, but Mothers also need to survive! But just like anything in life, too much can be a bad thing. I have to say, I am the proud owner of about 18 Baby Einstein DVD's, and I think they have actually helped Brian- he is delayed with his speech, and he will 'talk' to the DVD's, repeat what they say, etc. So I think it is just fine, used sparingly. Of course I do everything I can to talk to Brian all day and get him to talk to me, but I also need to cook/answer the phone/tend to Clayton/etc etc etc.

Julie you are a wonderful Mom! No more guilt! Love ya!

Kristie said...

JUST SAY NO TO MOMMY GUILT!!! I have a confession. Haylie watches a lot of TV. Many hours. But, we don't have cable so she watches A LOT of PBS - which is very educational. She has learned a lot from those shows. And now she is learning to play on the computer and she plays on PBS kids which is helping her learn even more. She watched Baby Einstein from about 4 months old and STILL, at age 3, asks to watch it sometimes. Here's the deal - my husband has ADD - if my child ends up with it I will be blaming it on genetics, not TV. If you show your kid you love him, and spend time with him, he's gonna be fine. As moms, we gotta' do the best we can and being in our kids faces all day long can really wear on us. Again I say, JUST SAY NO TO MOMMY GUILT!!!

Sara said...

Well, I kinda told you our personal plan about it back in Feb. Luckily, the girls are already starting to entertain each other pretty well, so I get a few much needed breaks. So far they haven't watched any TV, but it's only been 6 months. Don't feel guilty Jules, you have to do what helps you survive. And babies watching TV obviously doesn't mean they'll have problems. Good luck with your research!

The Bergman's said...

All I have are 2 personal experiences to share. Hannah (who I didn't get until age 2-Justin had her alone at age 8 months) who is now 5.5 watched a lot of TV. Justin just didn't know what else to do with her. She was a late talker, but is now at the top of her kindergarten class and finished all of her requirements 3 months before the rest of the class. She watched Elmo's World and Baby Einstein mostly. I would say that for him, it helped him survive and it doesn't seem to have had a negative on her (being in daycare full-time did more to damage her sense of attachment than anything else).

Sariah, now 20 months, has just started watching Sesame Street and can say "Elmo" quite clearly. Because I work from home, I sometimes leave it on just for the noise, but the amount of time that she is actually WATCHING it is in about 1-2 minute spurts for a total of about 20 minutes. One thing I am guilty of is using the DVD player in the car for when we run around. Nemo is currently in there and she yells "fish". Language development on her is also delayed...which leads me to believe that it is biological more than an effect of TV since Hannah had a lot of exposure and Sariah has very little "watching" time. That's the other thing...if your kid is zoning out in front of the TV, unaware of anything else going on around, that would scare me. If it is on for noise while they play or you clean up, watch how little they are actually WATCHING. I think that's the clue. TV might be on for 3 hours a day, but how much are they actually tuned in for. Good luck!