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Toddler DVDs Serve Purpose of Entertaining

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I have been seeing a lot of articles online and in the news lately about Toddler DVDs like Baby Einstein, Baby Genius, and others coming under attack for not being as educational as previously suggested. While I am not a childhood education professional, I am a parent of two toddler/preschool age children, so I would like to propose that anyone who purchases or registers for DVDs for their children honestly thinking it will make them smarter is just fooling themselves.

An article on Reuters today (link below) highlighted a recent study focusing on formal production features (rhyming, music, toddler-friendly zooming) used to create DVDs, which asserted Toddler DVDs are poorly designed and present little if no educational value. The founder of Baby Einstein, Julie Clark, in the article commented in response to the findings that the study was poorly designed. She however suggested that babies and moms both need downtime now and again so there is no harm in putting on age-appropriate shows every once in a while.

Toddler DVDs do serve a purpose—to entertain. You probably have your own favorite TV shows. So it’s OK for children to watch shows within reason. Especially for stay-at-home moms, you need a break sometimes to get things done or just to relax. I even have it on good advice from our local School District Parents as Teachers advocate that it’s OK to put a DVD on when you immediately get home from work and/or when you need to make dinner. Kids who are in daycare need the down time when they return home just like you do; they need to unwind for a few minutes, so putting on a DVD is a good way to allow yourself time to make dinner and/or go through the mail.

Just like health articles online are not meant to be a replacement for discussing issues of concern with your personal doctor, DVDs should not replace good parenting.

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I parent very much like you!

I can't imagine that any parent would really believe that these "educational" DVDs will really make a kid smarter but who could blame someone, with those clever (read: sneaky) implications the manufacturers use like putting "genius" and "Einstein" into their titles.

Some people assert that all TV is bad. I don't subscribe to this at all. That's like saying all art is bad, or all radio or music is bad. Say what?

Our kids never saw TV until they had each passed their first birthdays and now we use it to entertain, to allow us to shower or make dinner. We restrict their viewing and they generally watch a DVD or a TV channel with few or no commercials. And what kid (or adult) doesn't love to get swept away in the magic of a movie!

I get the impression that people who claim all TV to be rubbish as thinking that makes them somehow more intelligent or intellectually superior (meanwhile many of them are surfing rubbish on the internet!).
TV, in moderation, is fine. Anyone who grew up without the magic of movies really missed out, in my opinion.

By the way, a Dutch study a few years back compared all these Baby Genius and Einstein videos to Sesame St and what came out as being superior in teaching kids and stimulating them along with providing entertainment? Yep, good old Big Bird and friends!

December 11, 2009 - 1:22pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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