A recent article sent to me in one of my parenting newsletters discussed the merits (or rather, non-merits) of using videos/DVDs geared toward your baby or toddler to educate them. While I’m not against showing kids videos, I do think that a child’s time is much better spent reading, playing outside, stacking blocks, crawling through a makeshift fort of sofa pillows and blankets, and getting piggy-back rides from Mom and Dad. The following quote really caught my attention because it essentially sums up how I feel about the matter:
“We would gently urge parents of kids under the age of 2 to avoid screen time with children. Play is the work of childhood. Sitting down in front of a screen is not the work of childhood.”
Researchers have found that children who view “educational” videos (i.e. “Baby Einstein“), even with aid from parents who sit beside them and point things out, have “less ability with language” than those who don’t watch the videos, consistently scoring lower on language tests. While they may pick up some words with a parent watching the video with them and helping them say the words, children pick up far more words just by having regular everyday interactions with parents and caregivers. Children have been found to have difficulty relating what they see on the screen to what they encounter in everyday life.
The article does not condemn parents who utilize baby media, but the researchers do recommend limiting screen time for children under two, and offers tips and suggestions for best use of baby media if you do use it.
If you’re interested in what else these researchers have to say, read the full article.
- Study: ‘Smart Baby’ DVDs Don’t Measure Up (webmd.com)