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Baby Einstein Does Not Make a Baby Genius

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If you thought driving while texting or using your cell phone was dangerous ... think again.

baby einstein

Katie Wisdom Weinstein: I found something even more dangerous and distracting: I followed an SUV that had me watching "Baby Einstein" on their in-car DVD player.

I was mesmerized and repulsed at the same time. I guess the SUV mommy had not heard about the recall of "Baby Einstein"she was too busy driving around creating the next genius. Meanwhile, I was motoring behind her, hypnotized like a sucker -- watching that baby bear jumping up and down with his balloons. Maybe I was about to be a genius, too?

I am pretty sure that Einstein was no baby genius. Do we think his early exposure to Mozart sped up potty training? Who could be duped into thinking that colorful puppets will make trigonometry come at age 6 instead of 16? I am pretty sure (see how my science lingo is telling you I did not watch enough "Baby Einstein"?) that plopping babies and toddlers in front of the TV is a great way to get in that extra load of laundry, have an uninterrupted phone call with your best friend and fit in plenty of other activities (or naps) that moms and dads need. Yes! You deserve those extra things, but don't be fooled into thinking that you are educating your child with the television -- just like falling asleep on those old schoolbooks did not make you absorb the information through an osmosis-like transference (note the science word).

I almost missed my turn! Wait, lady! I wanted to follow the duck dancing with the frog!

There was a lot of controversy on this TV subject for babies and toddlers. It was marketing brilliance that made all of us stop and say, "Really? Classical music and happy, fun bears can make the future of this world smarter, faster?" "Baby Einstein" wanted you to believe that your baby was learning. From a bear. With balloons and classical music. Now, even I know that you could put a lab coat on me, give me clipboard and let me get bossy, and I still would not be an expert on anything. Just because you want it to be does not make it so.

Loads of research began to outweigh the claims "Baby Einstein" was making. Testing was done, and it was discovered that low test scores could be the result of some parents using the videos as a substitute for reading and playing with their children. No more duckies and Bach? Are you crazy? But it has Einstein's name on it! It must make smart babies!

"His eyes wouldn't leave the TV screen," wrote one mother from Hayward, Calif., in a letter to the Baby Einstein Company. "I could go take a shower [and] drink my coffee in peace while getting ready for work. I was so thrilled with 'Baby Mozart' I went out and bought 'Baby Bach.'"

Listen, lady: You could also jump in the car, go for groceries, get some gas, go to Starbucks and come home in time to change out the DVD! This is not parenting, people. This is TV! This makes little TV robots, like me! You know how when you get home from work, you're exhausted and you want a little time out from life? Maybe you turn on the TV? That does not make you a genius, either.

All I am asking is that you call it like it is. Go get a giant stack of books for that toddler. Play and dance around together in the living room to Mozart, Bach and whatever music you love. Give them a play lab coat, clipboard and crayons and let them be the boss. Just lay off the baby TV -- because you just might be surprised to find out that you do have a genius on your hands.

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7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Cheryl March 16, 2010, 4:07 AM

Geez, self-righteous much?! Supposing that was a child that howls like a screech owl everytime you put him in the car and that stupid dvd is the only thing that will keep him quiet while you run errands? Oh wait, you are supposed to be perpetually playing, dancing with and reading to your precious child. Who has time to do mundane errands? Sure some people are trying to create geniuses, but most people just want peace for a minute so they can shower, and heaven forbid, drink a hot beverage.

Hollie March 16, 2010, 6:11 AM

Well said Cheryl

April March 16, 2010, 6:59 AM

I both agree and disagree with you. While I do agree that you can’t stick a baby or toddler in front of a tv and expect him or her to get smarter, there is nothing wrong with using the tv or video when you need a minute. I don’t feel it makes me a bad mom if I let the baby stare at a video while I get dinner finished. Who knows, that might me that mom’s only way to get that baby to sit in the car without screaming. I think we shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

Shannon March 16, 2010, 8:00 AM

Omgggg if I hear one more freaking band rant about baby einstein I’m going to scream! People get over it!!! Yes we all know baby einstein does not make your baby a genius, but who the heck cares?! My son loves to watch baby einstein at least once a day & Word World once a day & I let him because then I can get some light housework done!

adelaide dancing March 16, 2010, 5:25 PM

watching tv is relative passive, unless you take action you are not really learning, also, being smart when you are young may result in all kinds of issues later on that we can’t predict for instance the baby may get a big ego and grow up to be lazy, or they may resent their studies and prefer to spend time doing things that are more fun, it’s hard to know for sure but watching tv isn’t going to solve all of these problems

Katie June 15, 2010, 6:51 AM

Question to the author of this article — do you have any other suggestions for getting your baby to be entertained while you throw in some laundry or wash some bottles? I have twin 6 month old babies and I am a single mother. I need a way for them to be entertained for 30 minutes a night while I get stuff done to keep on top of life. They are too young to read book and don’t yet have the strength to sit up in the cruiser gyms/bouncers. Any thoughts? I feel like a bad mom putting on einstein but I don’t know what else to do… and it entertains them for a little bit. Better than watching CSI miama or The Hills, right?

Ten Tees January 8, 2011, 5:14 PM

Nice site! Enjoyable reading. I’ve just got a opinion to offer about t-shirts.

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