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?

Parenting Poll of the Week – Kids And Happiness

I read an interesting article that suggests parents are less likely to report being happy than the childless.

In Daniel Gilbert’s 2006 book “Stumbling on Happiness,” the Harvard professor of psychology looks at several studies and concludes that marital satisfaction decreases dramatically after the birth of the first child?and increases only when the last child has left home.

No group of parents?married, single, step or even empty nest?reported significantly greater emotional well-being than people who never had children. It’s such a counterintuitive finding because we have these cultural beliefs that children are the key to happiness and a healthy life, and they’re not

I’m not sure how to take these results. I suppose it’s up to the individual. Certainly, anyone who wants to have kids but can’t for whatever reason, won’t be very happy.

I can also see how people with kids are subjected to stresses – money, time, sleep – that the childless are not. If stress level is the measure of happiness, then kids aren’t going to help that measure.

To borrow from William Jefferson Clinton, it depends on what the meaning of the word happy is.


Parenting Myths #1 – Terrible Twos

Everyone knows about the supposed terrible twos. The stage of child development characterized by frequent mood swings, temper tantrums, and liberal use of the word NO. I’d like to dispel the popular myth known as the terrible twos.

I’ll be the first to concede that two year olds often have mood swings, tantrums, and love to say NO. Just tonight, I counted 17 “no’s” and 3 jekyll and hyde mood swings.

What makes the terrible twos a myth, however, is that there is nothing special about two year olds. The terrible twos actually begin as soon as a toddler can get around on his own and do his own thing, somewhere between 15 and 18 months. As far as how long it lasts, I can only speak with authority as far as 3 and a half years, and I can report that the terrible twos are still alive and well at that age, too.