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August 24, 2007

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Hello, I log on to your bkogs regularly. Your humoristic style is witty, kep it up!

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Word. We don't own any Baby Einstein and I don't plan to. It all just seems a little silly to me. I suppose if you want to let you kids watch it/listen to the CDs/play with the toys for pure entertainment value, that's one thing, but expecting to raise little TV watching geniuses is something altogether different. I wonder what the Baby Einstien folks have to say about the fact that the APA recommends no TV at all for children under two?
As for music, I play it all the time, but not kids music. I figure Myles is getting just as much from listening to Bela Fleck or Ben Folds than he would from some dumbed down kids version.
I think the imperative to educate at all times has gotten waaaayyyyy out of hand.

Considering my daughter came about long before Baby Einstein, I certainly can credit them for nothing there. Daughter, age 13, was reading at the age of 3. Started kindergarten reading at the 2nd grade level. Why? We would read to her. Real book, you know, with pages that turn & everything! The son is now 6 months old. I was given a Baby Einstein dvd on language. Uh...great...when you don't translate what the hell the foreign language is, how is anyone supposed to learn it? Stupid & pointless...that will be last of the Baby Einstein in this household. However, he loves when we read to him (every day)and believe it or not, doesn't chew the pages!

great post!

You've really touched a nerve with a lot of people, based on the comments. A good, loving home, with or without TV, is more vaoluable than any color-coded dinnerware and pre-reading t-shirts.

I know nothing about Baby Einstein and all that crap. What I do know is that my mom was the fifth of six kids. She was left just to be most of the time. Rarely was there a TV on. She was bottle fed, hung out in a play pen sort of thing for hours on end and then made to *gasp* play outside and entertain herself most of the time once she got older. She's also a completely healthy woman with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

Sometimes I think we go too far in trying to make our kids be smarter. Some kids are smarter than others just in general. Really do they all NEED to be Doctors?

Hmmm...I'll have to see the study on Baby Einstein. Personally, I loved the videos and so did my daughter. Early on, it gave me the 20 minutes I needed to get DRESSED, or to eat a MEAL. But, for Pete's Sake, I still read to my child and still do...My husband and I have been singing and doing little improvisational dance numbers in the kitchen for entertainment. But, we still watch t.v. Now she's into Sesame Street. And I know the episodes as well as she does...she asks us to watch it with her. She has a great vocabulary and verbal skills. Is it because of Baby Einstein alone? Doubtful. We are just verbal people who have always talked to her throughout the day. We read. We sing. We just enjoy the interaction. We are both musicians and teachers...I'm aware of developmental milestones, but I don't stress about it. I am always on the lookout for something that might indicate a bigger issue, but otherwise, I think she's doing just fine!

I agree that the "super baby" syndrome is out of control. I feel that there are times I can't talk to other mother's because they are busy telling me what they are doing for the betterment of their child. Geez...and I'm happy when I can get her to take an hour nap!

And, I have to say, I always liked the Baby Einstein videos...they were mesmerizing...but then, in the depths of sleep deprivation I might have watched a tree with great fascination as well. :)

I'm so tired of the race to breed super babies. Why can't babies be babies and kids be kids? I'm all for reading to kids and helping them learn new things but do we really have to turn everything into a teaching moment? I was at dinner with a couple and their 2.5 yr old a few weeks ago. She was standing in her high chair, ready to topple over, and ready to drop a glass (not plastic cup). Instead of sitting her down and taking the glass away, mommy explained to her why she should sit and why she should put the glass down. NO! Sit your butt down before you fall and give me the glass before it shatters.

I was not surprised that Baby Einstien was found the be detrimental to babies. The fast pace of any TV images encourages the developing brain to make more connections in the area of the brain that handles fast-paced activity at the expense of the connections for slower, more concentration-intensive activities that require longer attention spans, like reading and doing homework.

Even before the studies, I always thought that the "children's" TV explosion was largely to blame for the ADD "epidemic."

Baby Einstein is full of shit. The best thing you can do for a kid is hangout with them and talk to them. Period. As it turns out, I was raised by a 16 year-old that had neither cable or a DVD player. I know all my colors, shapes, and body parts. And I have a master's degree. Those Disney fuckers are fear-mongers. They know parents are constantly afraid of screwing up their kids (which they will because that's what parents do) and the company plays on that fear big time. I am totally guilty of buying into it too. My 9 month old owns way more crap than me and I have had 27 years to buy "stuff"!

Angela -

Thanks! I'll go check -- and as for your mom, how can you not appreciate promotion of safe sex? :)

Ugh, I blogged in a panic after reading that CNN story about Baby Einstein. We've locked the videos away. I wouldn't be so worried if Nicky was talking up a storm, but he's not. But even though we watched them (and I totally watched them with him too-how weird is that?) I certainly didn't think they were going to make him smarter. I just didn't think they'd actually reduce his language development. Who knows though. There are many examples of TV-watching speed-talkers are out there too.

I don't know if you do memes, but if you do I've tagged you on my blog.

Mostly thought I just wanted to point folks over here to read your blog. (I can't wait to hear my mom's response to me when she sees your header. LOL!)

the whole TV thing has gotten out of control. "TV is BAD," say the studies, "no matter how educational it may seen, it's not advancing our toddlers blah blah blah." At least that's what we're hearing in Canada. And, yet...and, yet... After a long hard day with my screeching toddler, I put my legs up and set her down in front of Shrek. And, I felt darn good about it. ;)

Hyphen -- I totally have no issue with Baby Einstein dvds -- I just wish that I had invented it (LOL). And really, what is it with PBS? It goes from Clifford to World War II with NO warning!

Weird Girl -- That's what I'm hoping for with preschool -- I don't need her to speak French. I want her to be able to interact with kids her age and socialize.

Mothergoosemouse -- All hail the power of the pointy toe.

Lady M -- We love Little Einsteins. I only wish Annie could sing.

Cordy is also now spelling out B-O-X, BOX! Drive me crazy.

As a baby, she hated Baby Einstein, and far preferred Wiggles. That's my girl - foregoing the educational for the pop culture. I think she's learned most of her numbers, shapes and colors thanks to good ol' Noggin.

(How can you live without Noggin?)

I was curious about the 'in honor of post' so I linked to the site, read the post, then linked to read about Hannah. I'm speechless, sobbing, crushed and inspired...all at the same time. I don't have a blog ye, but I think you just pushed me off the fence I have been sitting on. Thanks Kristen!

I think the Baby Einstein genre is a bit much. There's nothing wrong with it if that's what you want to do, but it's not necessary. Babies need time to grow and develop. I think that what is important is stimulation and exposure to simple things (music, art, play) but it's not necessary to go nuts over it. I especially dislike the snobby mommies who look down their nose at all the loser mommies who don't have their kids enrolled in baby Mandarin language classes, or whatever.

One of the most problematic things for schoolage kids is summertime. Parents are busy, I get it. But if there is no time spent reading or doing other activities with kids, then it is like playing catch-up at school the next year. Kids who didn't learn to read, still won't be able to by the next school year unless they have practice. But it's hard to do all of that, and work and take care of other kids and responsibilities. I get that. What I'm saying is that there doesn't seem to be much emphasis on it nor help for the working parent because summer programs are not a given in every city and town.

Okay, that's all. :)

You know what I love about my son's preschool? They're teaching him things like pulling his pants on by himself and how and when to use a tissue. Because, seriously, those skills are so much more useful to me right now for my two-year-old than if he can recite Shakespeare.

And I do know a "super mom". She was in our playgroup and recently dropped out because her daughter, by her own definition, is "different" from the other kids (i.e. smarter). She does all the educational shit, limited TV watching, advanced classes, etc. Her daughter, at two, is now in Spanish classes. And hey, her daughter just might be a bright little thing, but the mom... she isn't all THAT smart. (She tries occasionally to get snarky with me and I can silence her with a look. I SO intimidate her!)

We never did Baby Einstein or Gymboree and my daughter watched plenty o' Nick Jr and PBS when she was little and somehow she still managed to make honor roll every quarter last year.

I think all that superbaby stuff is primarily nonsense and I honestly believe children benefit the most from interaction with other people, namely their parents, caregivers and other kids and from exposure to a variety of different environments in the course of daily living (as opposed to watching educational tapes or learning about them on a LeapPad etc.

(My mother never did any "enrichment activities" with me and look how awesome I turned out ;)

One question, has anyone ever meet these "so called" super moms that never let their children watch TV, play only educational games and have their children reading at 3 or 4 years old? We are all trying to live up to this crazy standard, driving ourselves nuts and for what?

Tacy watches "What Not To Wear". Of her own volition. I'm guessing it will be of infinitely greater value to her future success than any Baby Einstein DVD. Because who needs to be able to count to ten in a dozen languages when you know the secret of pointy toes?

Just yesterday, I wrote about how much we love Little Einsteins. But I would be thrilled with just about anything, as long as I don't have to listen to the stupid "I'm a Map" song in Dora anymore.

This is so funny! I just (literally, JUST) posted something similar after a well intending childless friend emailed me the results of the UW study results released a few weeks ago, stating that watching Baby Einstein doesn't really help your child learn to speak or read any sooner than they already would.

Well DUH!

I get so frustrated with people who think parents (mothers) are so stupid they don't know that it's better for a child to be taught by a human than by a tv show.

Yes, both of my kids watch and LOVE Baby Einstein. But it's not a substitute for parenting as much as it is a change of scenery for 30 minutes (ahem...or more if necessary) that allows me to get a few needed things done around the house. Both of my kids have been drawn by the singing, bright colors, dancing, etc. When all else fails to calm the screaming, tantrums, crying....popping in a Baby Einstein DVD calms things down. Every. Single. Time. But that doesn't mean it's every day.

I H.A.T.E having regular tv on if I'm not in the immediate vicinity , because even PBS switches from kids' programming to War-Filled-News while I'm trying to fix dinner.

Let's face it. Raising our kids without television/movies is like raising our kids without any modern technology. TV exists. Movies exist (although Cinderella is the bane of my existence). I agree with another commenter who said we have to find BALANCE. Like with all else in our kids' lives.

Next thing you know, they're going to start telling us feeding our kids hotdogs 3 meals a day is bad. SHEESH.

The worst thing I ever read was in one of the 1000 prenatal books you buy with your first pregnancy. It actually referred to the "classwomb" *gags* and teaching your baby in utero by responding to his kicks, etc. Give me a break.

As for Baby Einstein, they allowed me to sleep on the couch when the baby woke up at 4:30 am. It allowed me to shower. And it allowed me a few minutes of sanity when I just couldn't mommy for a few minutes. I don't think it's going to be the reason either of my kids do or don't attend Harvard.

Everything in moderation, people.

I watched the Banana Splits, the Flintstones and Josie and the Pussycats when I was a kid. And The Edge of Night with my mother in the afternoons. My mom was way too busy tending to the house and the kids to worry about teachable moments unless it involved cleaning our rooms and giving her a much needed break. I was the first kid in my class to read because I liked it, not because my parents laid the groundwork for my superior intelligence. Hah.

I am so not sweating all this early learning crap. But I would be in hell without Noggin. Damn.

I agree with SingleMom. Whatever happened to simply letting kids be kids? They only get ONE childhood! Let them have it! I'm all for teaching my kids colors and letters, I'm teaching my 3 yr old how to write alphabet now but it only takes up like 15 minutes of our day. The rest is play...as it should be in my opinion.
We put too much into what "other people's" kids are doing. Screw them...do what you feel is right for your own. It doesn't dumb them down or make them any smarter.
Intelligence is something you are born with. You can improve your knowledge base but can you improve your IQ? I'm really curious...
Kids need time to be themselves, to explore and live freely before the responsibilty of life sets in and these days it comes a lot earlier.

Thanks for writing this, Kristen. Lately I've been feeling like I'm somehow failing my daughter and not giving her the same opportunities that I gave my son. HE went to a mommy and me class, HE had my undivided attention, HE got all sorts of EDUCATIONAL toys...

It's nice to reminded that all that "fluff" doesn't matter.

She'll still be accepted to Harvard, eventhough I didn't buy her the godammed color-coded spoons!

This

They just published a study that says not only is Baby Einstein not good for a child's development- it is bad for them. The study said that it would be better for your kid to watch The Simpsons or American Idol because then parents are more likely to watch as well and it can be an interactive experience.
I like to take studies like this and use them as my excuse to watch TV in the presence of my child. As a single mom sometimes it's all I can do to keep my sanity!!

I got a copy of Word World at BlogHer and Dawson has almost worn the DVD out. He loves the "Runaway O's" episode. I love the show, I'm just sick of repeating it over and over and over. Can't wait for it to air already.

(If it helps, my son - same age as Q - lo-O-ves "Between The Lions" and it's pretty cute and educational).

I think the problem lies in defining "educational moment". My Mom used to say "life is a learning experience". It's *ALL* education. What's important is that you raise *your* kid the way *you* want.

OMG and then in middle school and high school starts the equally ridiculous "Premier Sports" teams. Parents spend thousands of dollars on fees, uniforms, travel, and shoes (THE SHOES PEOPLE!) so little Johnny and little Susie can get a scholarship to college. Well they’d better be pretty F’ing good because you just spent $20K on their sporting career. And your kids just missed out on countless other experiences because they spent every damn minute of free time at practice, or a game, or a tournament. STOP THE MADNESS!

Yeah, the whole higher intelligence thing with our kids are all fun and games until they get into school and start showing some of the odd behaviors that are characteristic of the highly intelligent and questions start being asked about them. Suddenly their intelligence is cause for concern.

And I didn't even do the mozart super baby crap stuff during pregnancy.

I grew up with 3 brothers, and we lived out in the country, where there was no cable, and generally didn't watch tv during the day. That was back in the days of Mr. Dressup and the Commander Tom Show. Lord help you if Dad heard you mutter the words "I'm bored" because you'd spend the rest of the day working on his list of chores.

We didn't have all the fancy stuff that kids today have, but we did have our imaginations, books, and a decent education (Dad was a teacher, and Mom worked full time once all of us were in school).

I like to think my Mom did a brilliant job with all of us, as we all turned out to be some brand of successful in our own rights, and all now have children of our own.

So this is my comment, kids will grow up and spend their whole life in a variety of competitive environments. Sports teams, friendships, highschool and peer pressure, and then good jobs and successful relationships (or not). What ever happened to just letting kids being kids?

Two of the most successful adults I have the privelege of knowing grew up with library cards, and a home where music was constant. In the form of a mom who loved to sing, and listen to music.

Personally I think we burn our kids out today by over involving them in too many activities, and out of our own desire to succeed as parents - we push them, or perhaps succumb to the pressure of the latest "Mommy and Me" group - to keep up with the diaper squad.

It's TOO MUCH. For every parent or doctor out there - there will be a different "you should really do this" opinion. Go with your gut, do your best to raise a happy child, not one that ends up growing up with an unrealistic sense of entitlement. Teach them respect and good manners, and have a little fun.

I'm a single Mom with limited means, and rarely brag about my daughter. But if I am really honest about it - she's a good, smart, creative, funny, and well mannered little girl. I rarely have experienced any serious criticism outside of the fact that because she is an only child - she sometimes is less inclined to be co-operative when she really wants something. She is used to doing her thing, without an audience or having to bargain, or work things out with a sibling. This is criticism I can live with , and I certainly provide lots of social opportunities.

Wow What a rant - I read many of the Mom Blogs Daily
* Chicken and Cheese
* Motherhood Uncensored
* Notes from the Trenches
* Wiping up Snot...
to name a few - and this post compelled me to respond! Thanks!

Just be glad you don't have Noggin & NickJr -- spare you from the nightmare that is Yo Gabba Gabba....

I like the points you bring up about "super baby" syndrome. Are we really doing a dis-service to our kids by allowing them to be on the same "level" as their peers? Are we "holding them back" because they can't spell B-O-X cuz we made them play with blocks instead of watching tv? I struggle with this all the time, it's hard to decide "how much" especally when more is always available. Where is the balance? And is "super baby" going to have a better life then "regular baby"? Will I feel guilty later?

I read a report on a scientific study recently that found baby einstein and similar videos to actually be more detrimental to child development than regular TV. I didn't go look up the details, but I thought that it certainly was an interesting finding.

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