Are Baby Einstein Videos Educational?

Every parent knows about Baby Einstein videos.? The company was started in the 1990’s by Julie Clark.? They combine classical music, colors, moving images, and babies are mesmerized by them.

The videos started out very low budget.? In the early ones you can see the operators hands working the toys.? Eventually, the company was bought by Disney and the new ones have more animated characters and video effects.? There was always an underlying premise, even if it wasn’t explicitly stated, that these videos were educational, or at least, that it was better for a child than other television shows.

Well, Baby Einstein has been in the news recently and it’s been causing a bit of a stir.? And you know how much SuburbanDaddy loves a good controversy :-)

Under pressure from parent activists, Disney issued an “upgrade” policy that allows anyone who purchased Baby Einstein DVD’s between 2004 and 2009, to exchange it for a book, music CD, or $15.99.

There are so many crazy parts to this I don’t know where to begin.? First, how could anyone really believe, despite what a marketing message may suggest, that watching these videos could somehow be educational or beneficial to a child?? I mean, is anyone really surprised by Disney’s implicit admission they may have misled consumers.? What?!!? A company trying to sell its products made them sound good?

Everyone knows watching television isn’t the best use of a baby’s time.? But we still do it because, while it may not be as educational as Baby Einstein would want us to believe, it also isn’t quite as harmful as activists warn.? Plus TV is very helpful when you need a few minutes of calm.? I know many kids who watched a lot of TV (me included) that turned into perfectly well adjusted, functioning members of society.

But this is what really gets me.? The videos, at least the early ones, are nothing more than recordings of actual baby toys.? So a baby is seeing the exact same thing as if they were sitting next to the toy, except the toy is on the television instead of in person.? I don’t hear anyone calling for removal of these toys.? It’s like saying watching football is ok in person, but if you watch the exact same game on a television, somehow that becomes harmful.

Where do you stand on this important matter?

Incident Week

Two incident reports in one week.? Last time it was Thing 3’s biting.? Thanks for all of your concern on that, by the way.? I had no idea biting was such a hotbed issue.

This latest one involved Thing 2.? He received a report for kicking sand into the eyes of two of his friends.

I don’t want to give the wrong idea.? From these recent posts, you are probably thinking my kids are a band of hoodlums, out of control and terrorizing the preschool, on the verge of being expelled.? Far from it.? They may be high energy, but behavior has never been a big problem.? Except this week.

There is, of course, a back story on the sand kicking incident.? Thing 2 often plays superhero games with his friends.? He has a vivid imagination, even for a preschooler, constantly talking to his toys and acting out battles of good vs evil.? It turns out that he kicked sand because he was a “good guy”, and he was trying to “get the bad guys”.

Unexpectedly Hot Parenting Topic

Wow! My parenting poll from last week about leaving children unattended in cars, touched off a firestorm of discussion.

I must say, I didn’t realize this was such a hot topic. I also wasn’t aware of some of the tragic incidents which have taken place across the country. I want to thank Andrea and Jason for their impassioned comments.

Some of the incidents on Kids and Cars are as hard to believe as they are tragic. Some are freak occurrences. Some are adults acting very stupid, like just plain forgetting a kid is in the backseat.

I think this boils down to awareness and common sense. Being aware of the dangers is important. I am now more aware of some of the things which can happen to kids left alone in cars. It’s similar to the warnings we are given about bathtubs and swimming pools. Don’t leave a child unattended. A kid can drown in very little water. Hearing these warnings over and over helps raise awareness.

But freak accidents can occur anywhere. When you leave the room to answer the phone. When you are making dinner in the kitchen. Riding a bike. You can’t keep your eyes and hands on your kids 24/7.

When I think about all the potential dangers out there, and when I see my kids doing some of the things they do (jumping off stuff, running full speed without looking), it makes me paranoid. And my oldest is only four and a half. What happens when they are older? Jumping off higher stuff. Riding skateboards. Driving a car. Yikes!