Baby Einsteins: Not So Smart After All

I know many Mums who buy the Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby VCDs by the dozen – after all, which Mum wouldn’t want a baby to grow up like Einstein?

As a Mum myself, I’ve bought a bunch of VCDs for the kid to watch when he was a year old plus. I’m glad that I didn’t start him on these when he was a baby because this article from TIME magazine, “Baby Einsteins: Not So Smart After All” report that having babies watch VCDs will do them more harm than good, especially in the area of language learning.

Led by Frederick Zimmerman and Dr. Dimitri Christakis, the University of Washington study reported 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.”

Three studies have shown that watching television, even if it includes educational programming such as Sesame Street, delays language development.

“Babies require face-to-face interaction to learn,”

says Dr. Vic Strasburger, professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

This growing evidence led the Academy to issue its recommendation in 1999 that no child under two years old watch any television. The authors of the new study might suggest reading instead: children who got daily reading or storytelling time with their parents showed a slight increase in language skills.

As far as Christakis and his colleagues can determine, the only thing that baby videos are doing is producing a generation of overstimulated kids.

“There is an assumption that stimulation is good, so more is better,” he says. “But that’s not true; there is such a thing as overstimulation.”

His group has found that the more television children watch, the shorter their attention spans later in life.

In conclusion, if you want your child to get a good start in school, TURN OFF THE TV!

Reading a book with your child is:

  • cheaper - he’ll want to read the same book over and over again; it won’t get scratched and it doesn’t need electricity :-)
  • quality time spent - he’ll love to sit in your lap and listen to you read
  • going to help with speech development - you’ll find him chiming in with bits of words he’s picked up at certain sections of a story or poem.
  • a confidence booster – he’ll have a strong basic vocabulary to begin and go forward in preschool. All teachers love a ready student!
  • building a life-long learner
  • he’ll love learning about NEW experiences, people and people. He’ll expand his mind and not be afraid of anything…

    Reading with your baby only takes 15 minutes a day – here are 2 ways we used for him :)

    Interesting facts about Einstein:
    – Did you know that Einstein was a late talker? He never actually spoke until he was 3 years old.
    – Einstein hated the academic high school he was sent to in Munich, where success depended on memorization and obedience to arbitrary authority. His real studies were done at home with books on mathematics, physics, and philosophy.

    “Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.” ~ Albert Einstein

    2 thoughts on “Baby Einsteins: Not So Smart After All

    1. Lil Prince – We can’t escape TV programmes, I think but best wait till they are toddlers. Let’s start with a bit of reading first :-)

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