Baby Einstein - good bad or negligible?

As the proud mama of a 2 month old baby, I am wondering about all of the Baby Einstein products available - toys, CDs, DVDs, etc - which are all geared towards developing a brighter child.

I know a lot of it is marketing, but is there actually any benefit to these products, or is it just a lot of hype?

Ideas / thoughts / opinions?

(I have seen the child of a friend glued to the tv for HOURS watching a Baby Einstein video - she started when she was just a few months old. Didn’t look very developmentally productive to me. So I’m curious as to what others think or have experienced).

S.

I’ve never bought any, so I can’t really speak from the depths of experience, but…

The music (which I’ve checked out from the library) is kiddiefied classical, with keyboards, chimes, and so on. It would be better and cheaper to play actual classical music for your child. In general IME, the kid-directed, expensive ‘classical’ CD’s are not as good as the real thing. You can play any nice Mozart or whatever.

The DVD’s are cute and mesmerizing, but I don’t think they can possibly have any ‘educational’ value. Give a kid real things to play with, that’s much better for their development, as you know. If you need something for a little babysitting every so often, it’s not terrible and we all have to do that sometimes, but I never used it. It’s probably better than those thingys, you know, like the Teletubbies only weirder.

We have a few of the books, but my son has never really been too interested in them. The one he likes the most is called something like “What Floats” and is able to go in the bathtub, which is really what the attraction is. Nothing special about the books and there are millions of other children’s books that are more enticing.

USA Today Article

I don’t plan to buy anything like Baby Einstein for Isabella (she’s be 1 on Dec. 26th!) but I don’t see any harm in the toys. My best friend thinks they’re wonderful but from what I have seen they are no better than any cheap fun toys and board books I buy from Family Dollar.

If I want her to listen to classical music I’ll turn on the radio. I saw one video set for teaching Spanish that looked slightly interesting but I just get Daddy to teach her for free. :wink:

My own Number One Nephew (now 3) is positively obsessed with Baby Einstein – he can recognize and list all of the videos and the corresponding animal characters. He’s also corrected me and others about which pieces of music are Beethoven or Mozart or whomever. His parents limit him to one video per day, though, or he’d do nothing else.

When I got Number Two Nephew (now 0.5) some Baby Einstein plush blocks, his older brother immediately confiscated them and started building towers that were in numerical order and neatly aligned with all the matching designs facing the same way. Seems he’s picked up the family engineer traits.

Anyway. Nephew Number One is quite bright, but I suspect he’d be just as bright without Baby Einstein. I think it’s his complete uninterest in Barney or Teletubbies or whatever that is the real benefit of Baby Einstein.

It’s no big trick to glue a kid to a TV- the trick is to lure them away from the tube.

This I can see as a benefit. I don’t know how annoying Baby Einstein is, but the alternatives can drive a parent to homicide. Aside from that, it seems like a “make your baby smarter” gimmick. It has no effect that I could tell.

The Kaiser Family Foundation just did a report on educational media for young’uns. I haven’t read it yet, but it was recently mentioned in an article in the New York Times.

A key paragraph:

The article mentions that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no “screen time” until kids are 2; I know that’s their stance on television, but I can’t find a more definitive cite about other media.

At any rate, it seems clear that there’s no compelling evidence that Baby Einstein, etc., will do anything for your baby, whether or not they’re harmful.

Whoops - I just reread my OP and realized that I didn’t really get my point across.

I am thrilled with my baby just the way she is, and would never rely on any line of baby products to make her smarter. I am completely committed to interacting with my baby in as many ways as possible - and so is her dad. We want a child who is active, engaged, curious, etc - but most of all HAPPY!!! :slight_smile:

I was just curious as to if they actually had any benefit over any other types of toys, music, dvds, etc. because my natural inclination is to dismiss them as ‘hype’.

And my point about the friends’ child who is glued to the tv was that I see that as a very negative thing. It’s like people rely on these toys and videos to teach their child, instead of doing it themselves.

Just MHO. :slight_smile:

So really I was wondering if I was being too hasty in dismissing these products, or if there was a value to them that I might be missing.

(Apologies for the scrambled-ness of this post - I’m blaming it on baby-brain!)

S.

According to the links I posted, it’s just hype. Or at least, there’s no evidence that they do any good, and some hypotheses that (in infants, at least) they do bad.

One more quote from the NY Times article, from Warren Buckleitner of Children’s Technology Review: “There’s not an educator alive who would disagree with the notion that concrete and real are always better.” And that’s a guy who thinks the products have some future potential.

My public library has the Baby Einstein DVDs. Why not see if yours does? That way you can check them out and see what you think of them before exposing your child to them.

My nephew, just turned two, has a Baby Einstein DVD that he loves. We watched together. Well, really, I was watching him watching the video, mostly, I guess. :slight_smile: He gets a huge kick out of it, and by watching it with his parents and grandparents, he’s learning the names of the various things in the video. We worked on “Saturn,” but only got as far as “Sah!” :slight_smile:

My impression of the one that we watched was that it was basically stuff that babies would not be allowed to touch IRL: executive desk toys, motorized toys, that kind of thing. If you put it in front of them, they’d be fascinated by it, and then they’d surely grab at it, and it would all end in tears. When it’s on TV, they don’t expect to be able to interact with it, so they can just watch it an enjoy it.

Hell, I’d like that book now and I’m 23, but I’m the guy in Cafe Society defending Will it Float? on Letterman. Assuming it’s not like “boats float and ducks float and wood floats and witches float” and so on and so forth but more like “drop $item in the tub and see if it floats.”

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but the book does in fact feature such floating items as a boat, a lily pad, and a crocodile. Witches aren’t mentioned at all.

When my kids were growing up, they did not have videos to watch. They had these old fashioned things called books (videos were available, but we owned very few and only rented every so often). Both of my kids tested as gifted and graduated with honors. Compare that to a few years later my neighbor’s kid had more videos that you can shake a stick at. Growing up the kid never played outside, and just watched videos. Poor kid has very poor health (never went outside to run around), seriously overweight at age 6, very poor grades, and almost can’t read. Last I heard, she was almost flunking out of middle school.

For heaven’s sake if you want a smart kid, read to them! Read to them every day. With both of my kids I read to them every night, that was our “special” time together. If you are shopping and they ask for a book, buy it! There were times when my kids got a new book at the grocery store, and I wound up not having lunch the next day cause money was so tight. But they always got the new book. Take you kids to the library. As soon as they can read, get them their own card. Trust me, you kid will be a whiz if you do this.

If witches aren’t mentioned at all, how are the kiddies supposed to learn to recognize them? After all, if the woman weighs the same as a duck, then she’s a witch. And presumably would float, even if they didn’t throw her into the pond.

I think y’all are reading waaay too much into it. As a diversion and a momentary bout of sanity away from our newborn twins Baby Einstein is FAR from the worst thing you could do.

From birth, the kids have slept with classical music, and up til 24 months or so, saw a sprinkling of the Baby Einstein DVDs. They’re three now and this thread has me thinking I don’t know WHEN we watched one of them last…But I’ve seen some nails-on-the-blackboard kiddie vids and these aren’t it.

Now, if one kid would just stop obsessing over Herbie:Fully Loaded.

When my kids were growing up, they did not have videos to watch. They had these old fashioned things called books (videos were available, but we owned very few and only rented every so often). Both of my kids tested as gifted and graduated with honors. Compare that to a few years later my neighbor’s kid had more videos that you can shake a stick at. Growing up the kid never played outside, and just watched videos. Poor kid has very poor health (never went outside to run around), seriously overweight at age 6, very poor grades, and almost can’t read. Last I heard, she was almost flunking out of middle school.

For heaven’s sake if you want a smart kid, read to them! Read to them every day. With both of my kids I read to them every night, that was our “special” time together. If you are shopping and they ask for a book, buy it! There were times when my kids got a new book at the grocery store, and I wound up not having lunch the next day cause money was so tight. But they always got the new book. Take you kids to the library. As soon as they can read, get them their own card. Trust me, you kid will be a whiz if you do this.

Shit sorry about that, I kept getting connection timed out messages. If a mod comes by dusting and cleaning, they could delete the extra entry.

Yes, but the Baby Einstein videos aren’t going to benefit your newborn twins, either – not in the “make them smarter” way. At least, there’s no evidence, at all, that it will. That doesn’t make it a bad diversion, but it makes it no better a diversion than Sesame Street or The Red Balloon or Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

Plunking your kid down for hours in front of anything isn’t going to do them much good. Random, parent-relieving moments with Baby Einstein isn’t going to hurt them. Moderation in all things is the key.

(The American Academy of Pediatrics’ “no TV whatsoever” recommendation so far doesn’t mean much in our house – my 3-month-old doesn’t particularly notice the TV regardless of what’s on; she’s much more interested in the floor lamp. When she starts paying attention, we’ll probably stop watching when she’s awake in the room.)