Back in July I wrote an article about screen time for babies and how it is a big “no-no” for children under 2 years of age. As much as I wish I were updating this article with new info about how it is not only good to let your kids watch TV that young, but also recommended for admission into Ivy League schools later in life, sadly I am not. I am here to confess that I am a complete failure at this; my 1 year-old daughter loves watching Baby Einstein videos and they have made the last few weeks more bearable for everyone in this family.
If you have been keeping up with my PCS adventures, then you know that my family has been without household goods for 34 days now. The first week was especially hard because not only did we not have anything in our house, but also my husband was not home to help entertain our LO. That’s when I turned to Baby Einstein and never looked back. I stumbled upon one of the videos on YouTube and played it for her; it magically kept her still and focused for 20 minutes. I then found a whole series of Baby Einstein classics on Amazon Prime and introduced a different one each day while I cleaned and prepped our house for moving out. I even had them saved to my iPhone for her to watch on our 14+ hour plane ride and they truly were a life saver. Now that we are temporarily living in a hotel until a house becomes available, Baby Einstein videos help break up our day and keep things exciting for our LO.
The theory behind the Baby Einstein DVDs is that by letting your kid watch the videos, they will learn cognitive skills – mostly focused on language – faster than other kids. Actual research shows that this theory is a bunch of BS. A study done at UC Riverside concluded that babies that watch the DVDs know no more words than those who hadn’t watched the DVDs. I am totally OK with this. Plus I am taking it with a grain of salt anyways because I have seen vast improvements with my daughter in the past few weeks since we began watching the videos. It could be the videos or it could just be that she is reaching new milestones with her age; but she is way more vocal than before, she talks to the characters in the video, and even repeats the sounds they make. She has also started humming/attempting to sing along with the songs (especially Beethoven’s 5th Symphony) and when I sing her to sleep at night.
The Baby Einstein videos are marketed as a way to help introduce your child to a world of sights, sounds, and experiences in the world around them. Simply interacting with your child through books, toys, and your actual home full of objects will work just as well and probably even better. Unless you are like us and do not have a home full of objects or toys!! Luckily military moves only happen every couple of years and our nomadic lifestyle will soon come to an end. For now though, the videos are a constant my daughter can count on and a tool to show her things outside our hotel room. As soon as we are settled in this new country, in our new home, we will go out and explore the world around us in real life.
I wanted to write about this again because I am having a hard time accepting the fact that children under 2 should not have any screen time. Now that TV actually engages my daughter I struggle with whether or not I should let her watch a few minutes here and there so I can have some quiet time. Is that so wrong? To be honest though, I do not struggle as much as I should because I am exhausted, very pregnant, and sometimes I just need a break from reading “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”so I hand over my iPhone with “Guided Access” enabled and I let the Baby Einstein play. I’ll let you know in a couple years if I completely ruined her! Any of you out there let your children watch TV before 2 years old and they turned out just fine?
*I mentioned in my previous article about screen time for babies and I’d like to reiterate it here that while you are not likely to permanently damage a child by putting him in front of a DVD or TV before the age of 2, it should definitely not be used in lieu of playtime with your toddler or as a babysitter.