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Sunday, October 25, 2009

No Einstein in Our Crib

Parent alert: the Walt Disney Company is now offering refunds for all those "Baby Einstein" videos that did not make children into geniuses.

This is such great news.  I mean, not for me, really, since I never bought into the hype about turning my daughter into a genius before she could talk.  Lucky for me that I also did not buy into the hype that putting my daughter in front of the television every day while I did chores checked my email was actually considered educational. 

I think it's funny, though, that despite not using educational toys and videos to teach my daughter to read or know her shapes or learn to talk, she's already begun exceeding my expectations.  For example, this is how our morning play time went today:

Me: "Addie, where is the ball?" (we had paid no attention to the ball at all today at this point)

Addie: looking around through her toys before she catches a glimpse of the ball and holds it up proudly to show me that she found it.

Me: "That's great! Bring me the ball, please."

Addie: Starts running towards me holding the ball out, hands it over, then claps and grins proudly.

Take that Baby Einstein! My daughter is excelling all on her own.  No videos.  No expensive toys.  Just a ball and her Momma.  Just a bit of quiet interactive play.  Who knew?

I think it is great that Walt Disney is finally admitting to their marketing scheme, and letting the public know that regularly showing their video to your baby does not only not make them smarter, it can actually slow down their development and cause attention problems.

Don't get me wrong or anything.  I have no issues turning on a cartoon on a few occasions where no one can focus on anything, and Addie won't eat, play, sleep, or settle down for a book.  Yo Gabba Gabba is a lifesaver in those instances!  So, no, I'm not totally against TV for children.  What I am against is being told that my child will not come out ahead if I do not buy these videos.  That I am wasting her childhood on toys and play time.

What ever happened to being a kid, for that matter?  I see commercials for kids toys these days, and no longer do I see toys that build imagination and require active play.  Instead, I see commercials for learning video games, and movies that teach your child to read and write, play computers, and toys filled with so many batteries and lights that a young child just needs to sit there and watch it go.  Children used to be able to learn through playing outside, through using their imaginations, and through testing limits.

Hopefully, this lawsuit and this reaction by Disney will spawn a new idea into parents' minds that it's okay to not be perfect.  It's okay to not send your kid to Harvard on a full academic scholarship.  It's okay to give your child the tools he needs to succeed in life without pushing him too far.  It's okay to let him be a kid for now.

Way to go, Disney! It takes a big "person" to admit their mistakes!!


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