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Need your thoughts on Baby Einstein dvds and idea of "educational" stuff for babies generally for Jeremy Vine show today October 30th

(35 Posts)
carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 30-Oct-09 10:24:51

Hi All

We've been invited on to Jeremy Vine's radio show for a discussion based on this story. We have lots of reviews for Baby Einstein stuff on Mumsnet and most are pretty positive. I have to say my mother-in-law got me one for my PFB and we watched it in that way you do with PFBs blush My memory of it was that it was mind numbing for adults, but calmed her down - mind you I also tried cd's of white noise.. she was a fractious child and there was no Mumsnet in those days wink. Anyway they want a wider conversation about the rights and wrongs of parents trying to make their children brighter by exposing them to different videos/music/activities. Is this a good or bad thing.

Any thoughts you can pass on before about 12 noon today would be most welcome.


naughtystepforme Fri 30-Oct-09 10:30:53

Hiya, we have a few baby einstein dvds and whilst I think they are meant to be 'educational' with my 8mo its just a way of having a happy baby if i really need 10 minutes to speak to someone eg. solicitor on phone, electrician etc.
Maybe when she is older they might be educational but at the moment they are just blissfully mesmerising!

PuppyMonkey Fri 30-Oct-09 10:37:48

We got some Baby Einstein flash cards for dd2 - I thought they were really rubbish actually. Because, say they were showing a horse, it would be a glove puppet horse. And i always used to think surely it's better to show a real, proper horse to help your dd learn what it is. Noyt a silly, very unrealistic looking glove puppet.

AvrilH Fri 30-Oct-09 10:38:08

It is just a way of easing the guilt of using a tv as a temporary babysitter.

It is not just baby einstein either - my SIL says that Barney is wonderful for teaching her DS, a friend claims that Dora is marvellous for developing language skills.

I think the real reason so many rely on these, is that we are more isolated than ever. We can't generally afford to live close to extended family or friends so there is nobody else to amuse the baby while we prepare dinner, or organise boiler repair, or take a shower etc.

Northernlurker Fri 30-Oct-09 10:38:42

As long as the child enjoys these things then there's no harm BUT a lot of parents do fall in to the trap of trying to turn their children into mini versions of them and imposing activities that the child doesn't actually like. I was very keen for my daughter to join a drama group at school in Year 3 - because I love drama. She (quite rightly) said it wasn't for her at that point but then in Year 6 she asked to join and has had a lovely time there ever since. If I'd forced it then we would all have been miserable. Same with babies - they love books but even at a very young age they can have preferences and if you want them to continue emjoying reading then you need to go with what they like NOT with what you think is best for their 'development'.

AvrilH Fri 30-Oct-09 10:42:27

NL - my baby would probably enjoy watching InTheNightGarden several times a day. Should I let her, because it is what she likes?

<imagines how clean the house would be>

naughtystepforme Fri 30-Oct-09 10:42:30

AvrilH You're absolutely right, it is my only babysitter! We live thousands of miles from DH's family and hundreds from mine so no one around to look after DD if boiler breaks and need to spend half an hour going through yellow pages etc. TBH though I don't feel at all guilty about it, it isn't everyday and she enjoys it so see no reason to feel guilty IYSWIM.

Northernlurker Fri 30-Oct-09 10:49:54

Well Avril - I certainly wouldn't have a heart attack at the thought of that provided that you do one assumes also speak to your offspring occasionally? The point I was making was actually directly about books though - and the need to foster the child's preferences rather than simply imposing mummy rules. MOst toddlers will like to read the same things and watch the same things over and over again. This is, I understand, an important developmental stage. They like repetition and if you constantly introduce new things you will end up with a fractious and stressed child. I love the night garden and can appreciate it's careful structure which is actually designed to calm and mildly stimulate children. It's a great pity imo that some parents see witholding television - or sweets - or a particular toy as a means to be a better parent.

sarah293 Fri 30-Oct-09 10:50:15

Message withdrawn

ProfessorLaytonIsMyZombieSlave Fri 30-Oct-09 10:50:43

We had the Mozart one and MY WORD it was dull. And the music was annoying plinky plonky cheap synthesizer stuff. We had one PFB try at playing the Mozart DVD with the sound turned down and real Mozart on the CD player blush but then came to our senses. I didn't think it would actually make him brighter, though, just thought he might enjoy it.

Anifrangapani Fri 30-Oct-09 10:59:03

I have never really understood them - A lot of studies show that a child who learns through play is better off eg recent Cambridge Study. I see them more as a way of making parents feel guilty about not teaching their kids at an early age to give them the "best start" in life.

Flash cards put my older brother off reading until he was 10 so they do not always work. Although he has post grad qualificcations he is still reluctant to read. Fortunately my parents binned them when I came along.

My daughter was not taught to read until she was in her reception class - she is now one of the top readers, because she was ready to learn that skill. While she wasn't learning to read she was exploring her environment and social structures - skils which are much harder to learn at an older age.

My opinion - waste of money and guilt inducing marketing mean they are a bad thing.

Anifrangapani Fri 30-Oct-09 11:00:15

I never did get the art of typing ... skills has 2 l's blush

naughtystepforme Fri 30-Oct-09 11:01:29

More thinking about the idea of trying to make DC brighter, I used to teach a boy who had been 'hot-housed' by his parents at home, as a result he was very well read (way beyond his years) and was a mine of facts and information but was so socially retarded it was untrue.

I spoke to him often about his hobbies etc and he didn't have any, lessons with mum and dad started as soon as he got home from school and this had been going on for years. He was in secondary school when I taught him.

The problem though was that they had taught him lots of information but no analytical or social skills (he had no friends, actually no friends) so if given a problem where he had to think through something to a logical conclusion he couldn't do it, neither could he empathise with classmates/characters in books. But if you asked for the first 15 elements in the periodic table he could reel them off straight away.

Needless to say, it didn't go down well with the parents when he didn't get the top marks because he was unable to analyse a problem...

Anyway, I'm rambling. My point (if indeed I have one) is that helping your DC to experience things and think about things is great, but it can really be taken too far.

Bucharest Fri 30-Oct-09 11:02:42

I think as long as we take the "educational" element out of the equation, there is nothing wrong with spending yet another £30 on something for our children to play with.

But children have been learning to read for hundreds of years, and enjoying it. Without an electronic gadget that winks and blinks and makes them a cup of tea while they're doing it.

We are, yet again, seduced by a very cynical marketing policy that tells us we are somehow inadequate, or don't care enough, if we don't have the latest Einstein/Vtech/Leapster/Tag system. The most cynical element of all of this is the "educational" label.

Educational is going for a walk in the woods and looking at trees, or heaven forbid, sitting down with a bloody book and reading it, it doesn't have to involve fistfuls of wanga and have to be plugged in.

<says the mother who has just bought a leapster for dd for Christmas> (only because it's a fun toy though, not because I am buying into the "educational" twaddle.)

carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 30-Oct-09 11:08:54

Thanks - think there's definitely something in the guilt thing - we need TV to give us a few minutes to get something done and if someone says something is educational/has classical music we want to go with that to make us feel better

Don't you think there's an element with your PFB that you think they are already the most beautiful, intelligent amazing creature ever created so giving them additional so- called educational stimulation, whether it's classical music, dvd's speaking French (when you're not French) is acceptable... it's only when you look back you realise how dotty you were (and that actually your French isn't that good? (ooh a Halloween exciting... you can tell I've been away a couple of days smile)

Anifrangapani Fri 30-Oct-09 11:12:50

She IS the most beautiful, intelligent, gifted and talented child in the whole world ( according to me at least) grin.

AlaskaNebraska Fri 30-Oct-09 11:13:27

BABYEINTSIN= lunch in peace for me.

naughtystepforme Fri 30-Oct-09 11:15:46

Carrie Yes, I think there is an element of that, and I think its the same people that take their DD to ballet on Monday, Sing and Sign on Tuesday, TumbleTots on Wednesday, AquaTots on Thursday and Craft 'n' Play on Friday - lest there is a single moment that their DC are not fully stimulated...

naughtystepforme Fri 30-Oct-09 11:17:41

<<really hopes everyone on here doesn't do ballet on Monday, Sing and Sign on Tuesday etc etc or I've just made myself V unpopular!>>

SpookyScattyKatty Fri 30-Oct-09 11:18:27

We have the whole DVD boxset, my DH wants a refund! Then again he didn't want to buy them in the first place grin

I actually think they are quite entertaining, my DS (21 months) enjoys watching them, no I don't think they alone will transform his intellect but they are better than half the rubbish you get on children's television IMO.

AlaskaNebraska Fri 30-Oct-09 11:20:11

i dindt get it cos it was educational Justine!
the other one i used was one with the cathcy song "mass mass mass excavator" as we watched 30 mins of digger action, if your kid fell asleep on your lap there you were buggered wiht " diggers dumpers and trucks"

AlaskaNebraska Fri 30-Oct-09 11:21:22

the late 90s verion of this kind of hting

lord mums are run off heir feet what is SO Wrong wiht 20 mins to restore calm?>

StripeyKnickersSpottySocks Fri 30-Oct-09 11:31:14

I don't think the videos are any more educational than a mobile that plays a soothing tune and entertains a child by having bright colours moving about. Of course its going to get a baby's attention.

It worried me that some parents will use these videos thinking they're good for their children when instead time spent interacting with their children will be far more beneficial.

Of course every parent needs a break at some point and TV is good for that. But I think parents may use more TV if they are convinced its also educational. Wheras the guilt will maybe kick in earlier if its a non educational programme. There is certainly research that says too much TV is bad for young children, regardless of content.

StripeyKnickersSpottySocks Fri 30-Oct-09 11:33:41

I don't think TumbleTots, Sing and Sing, etc is as bad as Baby Einstein. I doubt there is any educational benefit to these classes but it gets mums/dads out the house which is a god send when you have a baby and are going demented. Plus its the interaction between parent and baby/toddler which is good. No interaction in plonking baby in front of tv.

naughtystepforme Fri 30-Oct-09 11:37:01

Stripey That wasn't my point, I just think that many parents in hoping to raise their DC IQ or something think that they must be stimulated at all times, hence the endless round of activities. I personally think that there is a benefit to a child having some down time (not in front of a tv) where they have to play on their own and entertain themselves, I think that is a real skill to learn.

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