Rebecca Wolf

This blog is a chronicle of my daughters' growth - born July 2003 and May 2007. Be sure to check out the Thriving Babies homepage, for videos and instructions on how to use every type of baby carrier. For literacy and homeschooling tips, visit my Rochester-based Learning Center blog at www.SibleyCenter.com.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Pampered Audience

I was reading the fall line-up in TV Guide this week and found the most interesting article on toddler TV ( a full 21 pages were devoted to kids' shows alone). As I have said before, we are just too busy engaging in life to watch much TV. I don't think we've turned the TV on for 3 months now. (Well, we did watch that Napoleon Dynamite video my mom brought with her, but other than that, no TV. "Make yourself a dang quesadilla" for Pete's sake and be done with it.)

Anyways, the article discussed two new shows that are being targeted at two-year-olds: Classical Baby 2, from HBO, and Little Einsteins, from Disney. The producer of Classical Baby 2 claims her goal is to create a "lifetime of enjoying great art." The show combines animated characters and orchestra members, bringing classical music to life and fusing it with famous art from Chagall, Warhol and Jasper Johns.

Little Einsteins is a slightly more sophisticated version of the Baby Einstein DVDs (which made Disney $165 million last year).

Despite the supposed good intentions of these producers to introduce fine art to toddlers, (which I frankly have to question when millions of dollars are at stake, not to mention the loyal following they will have developed by playing Pied Piper to infants!) recent brain research discoveries have not shown TV to be beneficial in developing the creative muscle of children.

The author of the article went on to do an excellent job of summarizing current brain research and stated some things that DO enhance brain development:

1. Interaction with people, especially those that lead to bonding and communication skills.
2. Partaking in hands-on activities, such as playing with blocks or sand or climbing or "helping" cook/clean.
3. Doing something creative, such as painting or playing with play-doh.

(Yes, these things require some adult involvement and supervision!)

Now I'm not criticizing anyone who watches TV or lets their children enjoy a favorite show or two. But it can't be the ONLY stimulation a toddler receives. Life is too rich (and too short) to be in front of the tube 6+ hours a day! And it doesn't provide the interactive learning environment necessary to grow a healthy mind.

I was very impressed that the author introduced both sides of the argument, in the TV Guide, no less! I guess they know, as do I, that one article won't really change anyone's behavior.

Rebecca,
who prefers to read about TV rather than watching it
and who still believes one person CAN make a difference,
at least in the life of a child!

P.S. Thriving Babies has moved to a new URL: http://www.ThrivingBabies.com/blog
but you should still receive the posts via e-mail if you are a Thriving Babies Google Group member.

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