Baby Education Videos – Worth the Investment?
By Hieu Nighen
Baby education videos have caught on in a big way in recent years. From a wide variety of publishers, in a wide variety of titles, DVDs promising to help give your baby a head start in education with bright colors, shapes, and music are all being heavily promoted as a fantastic way to help entertain your child while she learns. Are all of these videos really what they’re cracked up to be, though?
Educational videos are touted to help stimulate babies’ brains, though not necessarily in a specific area. Designed to be interesting and engaging to infants, many titles rely on things like studies on the effect of classical music on learning and intelligence. As a result, you’ll hear a whole lot of Mozart on these videos. Many of them also incorporate bright colors and simple shapes, to help engage your child’s natural curiosity, as well as images of animals and nature. Now, this all sounds like it would be very engaging to a young child, and all parents want to give their kids the best head start they can, but do these videos really offer any concrete advancement?
Not necessarily, say recent studies. One notable look at baby education videos by the University of Washington actually demonstrates that babies shown these videos, particularly those in the eight months to year and a half old age group, actually had fewer vocabulary skills than those that didn’t. More and more, research is showing that not only do these videos not educate, they can set back development of language skills, since babies require face-to-face interaction to best encourage this kind of learning. Of course, these videos don’t promise more language skills, instead couching their benefits in vague terms like “brain stimulation.” However, too much stimulation isn’t a good thing either, and, instead, can result in kids that require the constant stimulation of television or video games, as opposed to milder activities like reading or floor play. The American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends that children under the age of two watch no television at all.
Like anything else, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. While baby education videos make a lot of promises, they are careful to word these promises in terms that don’t mention any concrete results. As always, the best way to encourage learning in young children is to play with them, speak to them, and teach them in person, and leave T.V. time to older kids.
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