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I'm with ya, sister. My kid enjoyed the "My Baby Can Talk" series of sign language videos. (I think that's the name. It's somewhat close, anyway.) It mostly just had someone saying a word at the same time as someone signed the word. Then it showed video representing the word. Like "dog" with sign for dog, and pictures of dogs and toy dogs. Very Baby Einstein-like. And, seriously, he learned signs from the videos. Even ones I have never done around him, he suddenly will start doing them. Anyway, YMMV.


I was able to clean house yesterday thanks to Baby Einstein. I get to take a shower, shave my legs, put on my makeup, and blow dry my hair because of Baby Einstein. I don't think the creator of the videos is a hero but I am thankful for what she has created. I wouldn't get anything done without them.

I have also used Sesame Street, and some of the very very annoying shows on Noggin to occupy James for short periods of time but nothing holds his attention like Baby Einstein. We don't do it often but TV has been a huge help.


Here is what the AAP says about TV for babies:

"Until more research is done about the effects of TV on very young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend television for children age 2 or younger. For older children, the Academy recommends no more than 1 to 2 hours per day of educational, nonviolent programs."

We may have watched Sesame Street when we were preschoolers, but you and I did not grow up watching TV from infancy. Exploring environments and manipulating objects stimulates brain development in babies. Watching TV does not. I did let my son watch an occasional video when he was under 1 year of age, and I don't think it's evil, but it is something to consider. If your daughter is bored with the baby Einstein videos, I would let it be. Try hiding some of her favorite toys for a couple of weeks, then get them out again. Good for at least 20 minutes of entertainment. And you can hide the other ones while she's rediscovering those and then rotate them out of storage later.


I am a huge fan of Baby Einstein videos (then onto their books & flash cards). It engages your little one and also helps stimulate the curiousity about the world around them. It is certainly not a stand alone, nor was it ever intended to be. That's why the Baby Einstein catalog of products includes the books, puppets and flash cards. So that mommy/daddy and baby can interact. I am curious as to who on this Commission has watched the Baby Einstein videos and if they did so in the company of infants. Sounds like they are going through some "reality" withdrawals of their own.

I hate to admit it, and when pregnant swore it would never invade my home. However, the purple dinosaur "Barney" actually calmed my little one. But it will run in stages 4 months she liked Barney then didn't watch him or ask about him for about a year because she was all about Elmo and BooBops, Teletubbies. Also try Baby Genius and the Your Baby Can Learn to Talk Series. To save some bucks on these I suggest getting them online where I did at (if they are still there). They have pretty good prices and a low shipping. If you have signed up for a Upromise account and shop at Overstock through the Upromise link I think you'll get anywhere between 3-5% rebate on your purchase to be deposited into your Upromise account that you can convert into a 529 for NG.


I have a screamer, thank GOD for Baby Einstein, Mozart video. For some odd reason, Sesame Street "Kid's Favorite Songs 2" has been a hit with all three of my kids. Yes, even my 6month old likes it. None of the other sesame street ones have the same effect.


Baby Einstein was the *only* way I was able to take a shower for almost a year, so she is a hero in my book!


When my daughter was born, she cried alot. My husband went out and bought a whole set of Baby Einstein videos. She really loves Baby Van Gogh, but will not watch any of the other videos.

I say screw the CCFC. You have to do what is right for your family. If Baby Einstein helps you make it through the day, then watch those damn videos.


Thanks for your post. I think you bring up some interesting points and thought I'd share a few from the perspective of a producer. My wife and I run a children's media company called Juno Baby. First of all, regarding the 1999 study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, no specific studies were conducted on infants' television viewing habits and this relative dearth of support led them to make the conclusion that "until more research is done about the effects of TV on very young children, the AAP does not recommend television for children younger than two years of age." I think it's worthwhile to emphasize that no distinction was made between educational programming and regular passive television viewing. I also think it's worth mentioning that, in the same article, the AAP elaborates that "studies show that preschool children who watch educational TV programs do better on reading and math tests than children who do not watch those programs. When used carefully, television can be a positive tool to help your child learn."

Perhaps a more detailed research piece was published just a few years ago in "Pediatrics" by scientists at Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center. The study explained that television in general tends to over-stimulate infants and may lead to problems associated with attention deficit. Once again, the study did not differentiate between the different "kinds" of programs that were watched. However, lead researcher, Dr. Dimitri Christakis felt that attention deficit in children was related to the unrealistically fast-paced visual images typical of most TV programming. Since the advent of the remote control, it seems programmers have grown fearful of viewers' changing the channel which would mean lost revenues for the networks. To maintain an engaged audience, images flash from cut to cut as rapidly as a standard music video which enthusiastically caters to a generation of shorter attention spans. It seems clear how this could be incredibly detrimental to an infant that is just starting to associate images on television with real life communications. Ironically enough, the very issue that seems to be scarring the industry in which we participate, is part of our mission statement - to show content in a slow and deliberate manner.

In general, we think it's fair to say that anything can be damaging in extremes and the key should be more about moderation. According to a survey conducted by The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 61% of children under 1 watch TV every day and another one-third of children under 6 actually have televisions in their bedrooms. This to me is startling. We have a three year old daughter and her television viewing is quite limited and controlled. When we do allow her to watch our videos, we typically watch them together and talk about the scenes and sing along with the songs. Completely ignoring videos as a medium for learning and communication seems dogmatic.

Still, not all videos are created equally. We were actually inspired to create our own series out of dissatisfaction with the options so popular on the market today. It is concerning that so many titles imply that merely watching their videos will make a child smarter. We think it's more important to highlight the enjoyment and exposure to language and music that can be both fun and beneficial for the interaction between parent and child.

In particular, some of the qualities we think are important in a video include:

Slow paced and intentional - As an alternative to videos that seem to hypnotize children into sedation through random images, content with simple vignettes and logical imagery may prove to be more beneficial.

Interactivity - Look for videos that include interactive guides or include content that can act as a springboard to interactivity between parent and child. An interesting study conducted out of The University of Washington showed that infants exposed to television learned language skills exponentially faster when viewed together with a caregiver who could help interpret and synthesize what was being watched.

Simple dialog and characters with individual personalities - Research has shown that infants identify with faces which may prove to be a valuable introduction to language. Also, infants are capable of understanding human emotions and interaction. Watching recognizable scenarios with characters may assist is shaping positive social interaction.

Reviewed by trusted experts.

Music and singing - While we wish there was more evidence which supported the belief that merely subjecting a child to classical music will make them smarter, we personally have a passion for it. Belinda is a composer who has dedicated her life to this love. We, therefore, found it very important to expose our child to music. However, we would be skeptical of any company that claims or suggests that it will make children smarter. Still, for preverbal infants, music is a wonderful way for parents to communicate with their babies, especially by singing to them. In a study done by the University of Toronto, videotaped singing performances were shown to be quite effective for developing infants and are now even employed for therapeutic uses including regulating emotion in disabled or sick children.

The bottom line is that it is important to use your own judgment. Make sure that the videos and programs that you choose are reflective of your own values, imagination, and interests that you hope to encourage or feel are important for your child to be exposed to. Television and video viewing is easily vilified but when used in moderation and appropriately, can be an incredibly effective medium to educate, stimulate, and entertain. By the way, if you like, we'd be more than happy to send you one of our DVDs - we'd really be interested to hear your thoughts, criticisms, and opinions. Send us an email and let us know.

Thanks again!


I have a three month old who thoroughly enjoys Fraggle Rock. I got the DVDs at WalMart one day and played them so he could hear them sing. He likes to watch the muppets run around and sing!


I am the mother of a complete Teletubby addict. For some strange reason, Peanut never really liked The Baby Eistein videos, although, she does like the cd's in the car. The only thing that gives me enough time to actually make a meal that doesn't come in a can, box or bag. Amen for The sprout network!!


Just for fun, here’s an alternate point of view.
There are advantages to bringing children up in a TV-free household:
1. You never waste time arguing over how much more TV they can watch (arguing with a toddler can make your head hurt).
2. You don’t have to police their usage: “Only 1 show on a school night”, etc, etc.
3. They are protected from advertising: they don’t beg for a particular junk food or toy.
4. They are protected from the endless sexualizing of young girls. Let your daughters remain children until they reach their teens!
5. They are protected from the scary and violent images and stories that frequently appear on the TV news.
6. They learn to entertain themselves rather than expecting to be entertained.
7. They think that being read to and watching live theater are the height of entertainment and never miss special effects or the rapid pace of video entertainment.
8. Reading a book with a child on your lap is a very positive experience for the child because reading proceeds at the child’s pace with time for questions.
9. Being frequently read to increases their interest in books and they are more motivated to learn to read themselves.
10. To become a fluent reader, children must practice almost every day. This is much easier when TV is not available to distract them.
11. You can explore the thousands of science picture books, as well as your local museums, with them instead of watching educational shows
12. You can take them to a kindermusik-type class to expose them to music and they will participate actively by playing instruments, singing and dancing. These classes are available for kids under a year up to about 5 or 6 years old.
13. There are many wonderful music and music and story CDs for kids: the classical kids series, Jim Weiss’ story CDs, and the rabbit ears story & music CDs are all excellent.
14. Play them all your favorite music: they’ll learn to sing along and become familiar with different genres.
15. You have more time to spend with them because you are setting a good example and not watching TV either!

How do you keep the baby going without videos? Some parents carry the baby around in a backpack while they do chores, cook, etc. Move the baby and a few toys from place to place as you do different things: the kitchen floor, the bathroom floor (play peekaboo with the shower curtain), the office, etc. Let the baby eat (play with) finger-food while you cook. As the child gets older, s/he will become better and better at self-amusement. Sometimes a child has a weepy or grumpy day and you just don’t get everything done that you would have liked to do. You just have to adjust your expectations for that day. I believe that the advantages listed above outweigh the occasional inconvenience of a fussy baby. We did this with 3 kids and never felt like we were missing an important tool for child rearing.


Lots of good points and ideas - but I really wasn't talking about watching TV. I think watching videos - thoughtfully selected ones - is very different from turning on the tube and taking a chance on the quality of the show. I have tried PBS but right now, none of the kids shows engage her. Not even Curious George, one of my all-time favorites. But a little classical music with some twirling puppets on the screen, and she's giggling and babbling.


Oh, and I definitely do all the things in the last paragraph from Cathy. All good stuff. But those things last about an hour and a half. Then there are 4 or 5 more hours to go until Daddy gets home to take over so I can collapse. More power to ya for being able to do all that with more than 1 kid. I'm wondering if the women who do manage to get through every day with kid(s) at home (while also working from home) are also dealing with post partum depression. If so, I don't know how they do it. I'm just saying, I know I can't beat myself up over the fact that I'm not cutting it as an "all mommy, all the time" type. I'm just doing the best I can with what I have. And I'm wondering when the occasional grumpy day happens. Every seems to be a myriad of baby emotions - grumpy comes several times in the day as does playfulness, impatience, annoyance, excitement, stubbornness, fussiness...every hour feels like a different day.


Actually, I think any type of video entertainment on a regular basis makes learning to become a fluent reader more challenging. Children come to prefer the rapid pace and ease of watching videos and TV. It can take a lot of coaxing and rule setting to help your child find the time and energy to spend actively reading books. On the other hand, if watching videos and TV is not an option, they are more appreciative of being read to and more open to spending some of their free time with books without lots of prompting. This may not seem like a big issue at the moment but learning to read and to read well and with pleasure is one of the main goals of elementary school and your choices now can make a difference for your child.

As I think back to the years when my children were very young, I recall that I was taking classes and then working parttime on a research project with a group of people. I was very interested in the project and put a lot of effort into preparation, programming and working with children. My husband and various college students held down the fort for 2-6 hours while I was away. As they got older, the children went to preschool for 4 hours a day. Maybe once or occasionally twice a week, I had the child(ren) all day by myself. Even then, I would count it as alone time if the baby fell asleep while I walked for an hour. Sometimes I managed to trade the preschoolers off for an hour to a friend so I could go for a walk with the sleeping baby. As long as I could work that hour by myself out, the time with the kid(s) was a break from my daily routine and I almost always enjoyed doing stuff and playing with them. I didn't try to work from home until the youngest began full time school.

The interaction with colleagues and the time out of the house was critical to enjoying my time with children. I was busy and pleased with the way my life was going and how much my husband contributed in terms of housework and childcare and I felt OK about sitting on the floor doing puzzles and reading out loud for hours. Of course, what makes you feel satisfied with your life differs for each parent but if one can find a satisfying pattern of life for oneself, then time spent with a child will be part of that satisfaction and happiness. Sorry to go on so long but I do enjoy reading your blog and I keep wanting to give something back to you!

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